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Hfrican fibfssion Xife 


Rector of S. Saviour^s, Thlotse Heights, and Canon of Bloemfontein. 












South Africa is so much in the minds of EngUshmen at the 
present time, and claims and occupies so large a share of their 
attention, that little or no apology is needed for the appearance 
of the present volume. 

Nevertheless, I should not have ventured to write it had I 
not been urged to do so by several whose opinion on such a point 
I felt bound to respect, and whose reiterated wishes had for me 
almost the force of a command. They thought that the story of 
the Thlotse Mission ought to be known, and it is in deference to 
their judgment that these pages see the light. 

Yet it seemed to savour somewhat of egotism to write so 
much about a work which, in the Providence of God, has become 
so largely identified with my own life and labours, and I may be 
pardoned if I shrank from the task. But other and better men 
have had to perform a like duty, and have succeeded in doing it ; 
and I hoped that the interest evoked by the story I had to tell 
might perhaps pardon the apparent egotism involved in the 
narration of it. 

The greater part of my life has been spent in South Africa. 
I have lived in various parts of it for thirty years, and in Basuto- 
land for the last fourteen. So long an experience of South 
African life in its varied phases — more especially of hfe in a large 
and not unimportant native territory — ought to bring with it a 
knowledge, large or small, of the habits and customs of tribes 
and peoples, and of the history of at least our own times, if not 


of preceding ones. Whether I can with any show of reason 
claim to possess such knowledge, in a greater or less degree, it 
is for this book to testify. 

When I sat down to write it I did so with the intention of 
avoiding politics as far as possible, if not altogether. I found 
this to be aLnost impossible as the narrative proceeded, but trust 
nevertheless that I have not obtruded my own political views 
and feelings, if I have any, upon the reader ; nor dealt unfairly 
with the opinions and aims of those statesmen to whose foster- 
ing care the government of Basutoland has at various times been 
committed. The old motto '' Ne sutor ultra crepidam " is, I 
venture to think, an excellent one for the missionary. 

I should indeed be sorry if anything in these pages could be 
construed into a reflection, much less a slur, upon the ability 
or the integrity of a man so eminent and so justly respected as 
Sir Bartle Frere. Few, I should think, would deny that that 
great man had the interests of South Africa at heart, and that, 
could his policy of confederation have been carried out, not by 
the arbitration of the sword, but peacefully and naturally, it 
would have resulted in permanent good to the whole country. 

That he was throughout his life an earnest supporter of 
Christian missions, and a devoted admirer of missionary effort, 
no one will venture to dispute. 

Mission work, in each and alloi Hs phases, ought to be dear 
to every Christian heart ; and if my reau '^rs do not feel called to 
venture out themselves into the '' great deep " abroad, or even 
into the " highways and hedges " at home, they can cit least pray 
for the extension of the Kingdom of God. Most, if not all of 
them, can do more : they can aid with their alms the ** Forlorn 


Hope" who have gone out in their Master's Name, and at His 
command, to storm and destroy the many strongholds still, alas, 
existing of the empire of Satan. 

Great opportunities are ours. We live in a day when '' the 
fields are white unto the harvest." Basutoland is one of such 
fields. There, as in so many other places, *' the harvest truly is 
plenteous, but the labourers are few." " Pray ye the Lord 
of the harvest that He would send forth labourers into His 


Easter, 1891. 




Introductory ... ... ... ... 1 

The Basutos 13 

Social Life of the Basutos ... 41 

Religion ... ... ... 59 

S. Saviour's, Thlotse Heights 72 

Lengthening the Cords ... 97 

Loss and Gain 108 

Via Crucis , 114 

New Workers - 125 

The Rebellion 133 



Dreary Days 172 

Patching up a Peace 189 

Reorganization 198 

Inter-tribal Warfare ... ... ... ... 214 

Gleams of Hope ... 240 

Quiet Progress ,.. 253 

Sunshine and Shadow 267 

Tribulation and Joy 286 

fourteen J^eats in Basutolanb. 



The Switzerland of South Africa — Physical Characteristics of the 
Country — Climate — Fauna — Flora — Mineral Wealth— Natural Mountain 
Fortresses — Inhabitants. 

I F we look carefully at the map of South Africa we shall 
observe a little lozenge -shaped purple patch, about an 
inch in length, not far from the south-eastern corner of it. 

This purple patch represents Basutoland — the Switzerland of 
Southern Africa. It is a country elevated some 6,000 feet above 
the level of the sea, and full of lofty mountains, which are tossed 
a^bout all over it in endless and picturesque confusion. It is 
watered with countless rivulets, brooks, springs, and fountains, 
and possesses a soil second to none in richness and fertility. 
Xiying to the west of Natal, and separated from that colony by 
the lofty range of the Drakensbergen, whose peaks range from 
8,000 to 10,000 feet in height, it slopes gradually down to the 
great western table-land, which now forms the Southern Boer 
Eepublic^— the Orange Free State. From the latter country it 
is easily accessible ; but the Drakensbergen effectually shut it 
out from Natal, forming to the east an almost impassable barrier 
between the two countries. Physically regarded, Basutoland 
stretches from the Drakensbergen westwards to beyond Thaba 
^ Nchu, in the Orange Free State ; and in the palmy days of 
Moshesh's rule that powerful chieftain claimed, and often exer- 


cised, dominion over the whole of this large tract of country. 
But time has brought with it great changes in Southern Africa ; 
and at the present day what is known as Basutoland is, roughly 
speaking, the comparatively small territory lying between the 
river Caledon on the west — which separates it from the Orange 
Free State—and the Maluti mountains. These Malutis, or 
double mountains, as they are sometimes called, are the inner 
and most westerly peaks of the Drakensbergen. The country is 
thus much longer from north to south than from east to west. 
Its extreme length is a little less than 300 miles, and its breadth 
varies from fifty to nearly 120. 

If South Africa is a land of extremes, Basutoland is emphati- 
cally so. Its climate is probably the roughest, the severest, and 
the most bracing to be found anywhere throughout the whole 
vast continent of xifrica. The atmosphere in this elevated 
mountain region is highly rarified, and marvellously clear and 
pure. For the greater part of the year it is dry and exhilarating, 
and pulmonary complaints are unknown. The thermometer 
ranges from 105 degrees in the shade in the height of summer to 
fifteen degrees in the depth of winter. But in summer the 
extreme heat does not, as a rule, last for more than a very few 
weeks, and it is frequently tempered by cooling thunder showers 
during the months of November, December, and January. 
Towards the autumn, especially in February and March, copious 
rains fall for weeks together, rendering travelling well-nigh 
impossible. The spruits and mountain torrents roar, the brooks 
babble, the rivers are full to overflowing. Innumerable rills 
and fountains spring up all over the country. The rainy season 
has set in in its strength : the great heat has passed away, to be 
succeeded by a short, bright, calm, mellow autumn, very similar 
to the Indian summer of North America. 

The winter is the dry season. The days then are usually 
warm and bright, the nights piercingly cold. Now and then, 
when the wind sets in strongly from the South Pole, something 


approaching to a blizzard is experienced, and not unfrequently, 
snow falls. Indeed a snowstorm is usually looked for towards 
the end of June, and perhaps once in six or seven years the 
snow falls fast and thick for a distance of 150 or 200 miles. On 
most mornings in the winter large masses of ice may be seen 
floating in the rivulets and spruits, but they quickly melt away 
under the heat of the sun. Before noon all traces of the night's 
frost have disappeared : the sky is cloudless, the sun warm and 
genial ; and the natives of the country — true lovers of sunshine 
— creep out of their huts to squat on the sunny side of their 
*' Khothlas," and drink in at every pore the delightful warmth of 
the luminary of day. 

Fifty years ago Basutoland was full of wild animals. The 
lion roamed over the plains, retreating to the mountains when 
pursued. Old Basuto hunters love to sit at night around the 
winter watch-fire and recount the stirring scenes and adventures 
of bygone days, before fire-arms had found their way into the 
country, when twenty or thirty of the young braves of the tribe, 
led on by their elders, would with the assagai attack the 
monarch in his lair and despatch him ; but only after a furious 
contest, in which some of their number would fare by no means 
well. Troops of quaggas galloped over hill and dale ; elands, 
springboks, blesboks, reeboks, rietboks, and other antelopes were 
to be seen on almost every hill side ; and gnus, hyaenas, 
panthers, ounces, jackals, wolves, baboons, and wild dogs 
abounded. Almost all these are now gone. The eland and 
one or two smaller antelopes are still to be found, but only far 
away in the mountain fastnesses of the Malutis. The rest have 
retreated northwards or north-west, where they may still be 
met with on the plains of Bechuanaland, or in the solitudes of 
the Kalahari desert. The white man and the black have both 
combined to exterminate them ; indeed, of the two, the black 
man is their most deadly foe. The South African native leaves 
very little alive except his flocks and herds, and of course his 


dog — ever the friend of man — wherever his foot holds sway. 
Birds, beasts, and reptiles, all go down before him. His hand 
wages perpetual war against them, and destroys them all. In 
Basutoland you may search the rivers now in vain for a crocodile, 
or a hippopotamus, and serpents and other reptiles ara 
diminishing in numbers day by day. Happily for the human 
race, in a few years these last will have perished altogether. 
The conies in their " stony rocks," and the suricates {miercats) of 
the open country are almost the only wild animals now left to 
greet the eye of the traveller. The former are scarce and shy ; 
the latter, engaging and timid little creatures, may be seen in 
the summer everywhere, peeping cautiously out of their holes in 
the veldt, or standing erect on their hind legs sunning them- 
selves at noonday. 

Most of the birds too have disappeared, but birds of prey, 
such as vultures, carrion crows, and hawks are still plentiful. 
Pigeons also are numerous. Partridges, wild duck, and quail are 
scarcer ; while the kingfisher, the scarlet chaffinch, and others of 
the feathered race, so numerous in former years, are now but 
rarely seen. The sparrow, of course, is everywhere wherever 
man fixes his habitation, and, together with other competitors, 
makes serious depredations in the corn fields and orchards. The 
plovers in their wheeling flight, a few cranes, a little company 
of locust birds, a solitary secretary bird, with now and then a 
ring dove cooing to its mate, still claim the attention of the 
wayfarer, and remind him of the splendour of glories long since 

To the native his cattle is the most valuable of his posses- 
sions. He loves his flocks and herds above all things, sometimes 
even above his wives and children. The horse, the ox, and the 
goat now fill the vacant places of the lion, the panther, and the 
antelope. As a rule the native takes diligent care of his cattle. 
The small boys of each village soon learn to become patient and 
careful neatherds, and the cattle learn to know their guardians. 


One of the prettiest sights in the Lesuto (to give Basutoland 
its native name) is the return home of the cattle each afternoon 
a Httle before smiset. Strings of cows and oxen, with here and 
there a grave-looking bull marching by their side, and a troop of 
calves frisking in their rear, may be seen commg home from 
their mountain pastures ; each string following its herd-boy as 
in the East ; while the boys chant their pastoral songs, or display 
the dawn of musical genius upon the lesiba. Now and then 
some of the lads, by way of variation, will mount the calves, and 
then ensues a mad frolic — an amusing merry-go-round — which 
usually terminates in the riders being pitched ignominiously into 
the veldt amid the laughter and banter of their companions. It 
is altogether a happy, healthful, peaceful scene, and one that 
helps us to realise and appreciate the pastoral life and occupa- 
tions of the Basutos, 

Not much more than a generation ago each river and almost 
every rivulet (so the old men tell us) was fringed with indigenous 
willows. These w^re alive with chaffinches and ringdoves ; while 
the air around resounded with the cries of wild duck and teal. 
A few charred or waterworn stumps are all that now remain of 
these noble trees, for noble they must have been judging from 
the girth of these stumps at their base. In the extreme south 
east, the Quiting district, there is a good deal of bush and scrub 
still remaining, and the spruits and watercourses are still clothed 
with the wild willow ou either side ; but elsewhere, except in 
remote mountain gorges, there is no large timber left, and hardly 
any bush or scrub except the olive, which remains in abundance 
in the more secluded and hilly districts. 

But though the indigenous woods of the country have nearly all 
perished, a great many new trees have been introduced, especially 
since Basutoland has become a British possession. Many of the 
native Christians and some of the chiefs have endeavoured to 
make amends for the wanton destruction of former days by 
planting the eucalyptus (blue gum), the Cape poplar, and the 


willow, round their huts and villages ; while the mission stations 
and the magistracies may be detected at once by the leafy screen 
which surrounds them. The officials of the British Government • 
have done a good work by distributing from time to time the 
seeds of various kinds of trees, especially the eucalyptus, which 
grows readily almost everywhere. 

Owing doubtless to the barbarous custom of grass burning 
which takes place annually at the end of winter, there are but 
few wild flowers to be seen in the country. But in the nooks 
and crannies which escape the flames and remain unravaged one 
finds quantities of gladiolas, daffodils, geraniums, lobelias, and 
daisies. Ferns are abundant in these hidden glades and 
recesses, and some of the loveliest specimens of the graceful 
maidenhair may be easily gathered in the clefts of the great 
rocks which lie along the precipitous sides of the mountain 
gorges. The ever-welcome clover and the homely butter- 
cup are found in profusion in the meadows. Mingled 
with evergreen scrub, and gracefully covering the boulders 
on the hill sides, the clematis may sometimes be found, its 
charming white flowers filling the air around with their delicious 

In August the whole country presents a gruesome and ghastly 
spectacle. Veldt there is little or none, the ground is charred 
and black for miles upon miles as far as the eye can reach, while 
dense volumes of smoke ascend in every direction. The old 
grass is being burnt off to force on the development of the new. 
Should rain fall during the process, as is often the case, the young 
grass will rapidly appear, and will be available for pasturage 
some six weeks or even two months before its ordinary time. 
But unfortunately veldt burning is by no means an unmixed 
good. While it ensures an early pasturage it tends to keep the 
grass rank and sour, and therefore unfit for sheep. Hence the 
grass of Basutoland is almost all '' sour feldt," and but few sheep 
are seen in the country. But cattle thrive and multiply exceed- 


inglv, and throughout the greater part of the year look fat, sleek, 
and vigorous. 

Of indigenous fruits there are none except the blackberry 
(monokometsi), and the wild raspberry (monokotsuai) ; but both 
of these are inferior in size and insipid in flavour. European 
fruits have been largely introduced into the country, chiefly by 
the missionaries, and flourish abundantly. Of these the peach, 
the nectarine, the apricot, the plum, the apple, the pear, the 
€herry, and the strawberry are the most successful and the most 
prolific. The peach is found at almost every village, aud when 
the trees are in full blossom at the beginning of September a 
peach orchard is a lovely sight. The peach, nectarine, and 
apricot are not wall fruits as in England, but are planted in rows 
in orchards like the plum or the apple. Oranges require great 
care and nursing owing to the severe frosts, and the fruit is 
inferior to that of the Cape Colony or the Transvaal. Figs do 
fairly well, but do not attain the size or the luscious flavour of 
those of the western province of the Cape. Grapes are grown 
with success on walls with a sunny northern aspect, but do not 
answer in vineyards ; while guavas, pineapples, bananas, 
loquats, and other fruits which do so well along the hot coast 
districts of Natal and the eastern province of the Cape Colony are 
here unknown. 

Vegetables of all kinds are plentiful and good. Not only the 
ordinary kinds of English vegetables may be grown most success- 
fully, but the more tender varieties, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, 
asparagus, vegetable marrows, pumpkins, and indeed the whole 
gourd and melon tribe flourish vigorously in the open air, and 
are of excellent flavour. 

Nearly all English flowers thrive in Basutoland, and some, 
especially roses, when once they have had a good start, will 
grow everywhere almost as rapidly as weeds. 

The chief cereals are millet (mabele) and maize. The former 
is indigenous to Africa, and is found throughout the entire con- 


tinent ; the latter was probably introduced by the white settlers 
of the Cape as they gradually pushed their way northwards 
and eastwards among the various native tribes. Wheat is 
beginning to be largely grown in the central districts,, 
and the cultivation of oat-hay is extending. Besides these 
cereals the Basutos raise large quantities of pumpkins, beans, 
and water-melons ; and most of them contrive to find room also 
for a small patch of infe — a sweet cane — which matures at the 
end of summer, and the juice of which is wholesome and 

The harvest, both of millet and maize, is in midwinter ; the 
grain being allowed to stand for three or four weeks after it has 
ripened. When fully ripe the frost is said to benefit both millet 
and maize (or mealies, as the latter is called everywhere in South 
Africa) ; but should an early frost set in before they are 
thoroughly matured both crops may be frost-bitten and ruined 
in a night. It is but seldom that such a dire calamity takes 
place, though almost every year partial frosts will destroy patches 
of grain, especially in low-lying fields and gardens. 

Basutoland is, as has been said, a well watered country, 
though its rivers, like the others of South Africa, are none of 
them navigable. They are mountain streams or torrents, at 
times, especially in the winter, almost dry, but during the rainy 
season full, deep, and swiftly flowing. Sometimes in the spring 
a single thunder shower will suffice to fill them, though perhaps 
only for a few hours, so rapid is their course. Some of the 
largest rivers of South Africa take their rise in Basutoland, in 
the very heart of the Malutis, at the foot of the Mont aux 
Sources, a dome-shaped mountain over 10,000 feet in height. 
Among these are the Orange, the Caledon, and the Tugela ; 
while of the lesser streams the most important are the Kornet 
Spruit, the Putiatsana, the Thlotse, and the Hololo. In addition 
to these, and helping to feed them, innumerable streamlets flow 
forth from the Malutis, and render the country one of the most 


fertile in the world. It is by far the best watered portion of 
South Africa, and though now almost destitute of trees its 
pasturage is everywhere good, and its valleys, especially those 
drained by the tributaries of the Caledon, contain a rich and 
fertile soil admirably adapted for agriculture. 

Of its mineral wealth little is at present known. Coal has 
been found in many places, and one seam has been recently 
opened up and worked by the Government with the concurrence 
of the Paramount Chief. . Iron abounds in several districts ; while 
old Australian diggers and other mining experts assert that rich 
gold reefs are to be found in many parts, especially along the 
spurs of the Malutis. Some maintain that diamond deposits 
exist, and others profess to have discovered quicksilver. The 
streams of water wash down annually great quantities of quartz, 
crystals, agates, cornelians, and other stones. For obvious 
reasons it has hitherto been the policy of the British Govern- 
ment to forbid all prospecting for minerals, and this rule has 
been rigidly enforced, the country being held in trust by the 
Queen of England for the Basuto people. 

But above all, Basutoland is emphatically a land of moun- 
tains. As the reader already knows it lies along the inner 
slope of the Drakensbergen, whose western peaks, running 
parallel with the eastern or Drakensbergen proper, form the 
magnificent range of the Malutis. But detached from this latter 
range and from its spurs, often at a considerable distance,, 
solitary mountains rise, flat-topped, like huge fortifications, 
to the height of from 800 to 2,000 feet. These isolated 
mountains are frequently from ten to twenty, or even thirty 
miles in circumference, and are usually of an oblong shape. 
They are in fact table-lands, the plains at their summits being 
crested with a crown of grey sandstone rock which hardens by 
exposure to the atmosphere. The horizontal strata of this 
sandstone often lie one above the other with striking and 
beautiful regularity. These natural mountain fortresses are 


almost impregnable. Their sides of bare, naked rock are well- 
nigh perpendicular, and their summits are inaccessible, except 
at perhaps two or three points where a narrow pathway may be 
found between huge overhanging cliffs. In wartime a dozen 
bold and determined men on these heights have been known to 
keep a whole army below at bay, and to hold their mountain 
fort against all assailants. The tops of these mountains are 
quite flat, and form table-lands several miles in extent. They 
are often well watered with springs and natural fountains, and 
afford such excellent pasturage that they are constantly covered 
with herds of cattle, especially during the summer season. In 
times of invasion or war these solitary mountains are the refuge 
■of defeated chieftains and their followers, and may be held for 
months and even years, as was the case at Thaba Bosigo during 
the Basuto-Dutch war, and later on in the Quiteng during the 
Morosi campaign. The base of these mountains is generally 
surrounded by huge blocks of sandstone, which were formerly 
•covered with the wild vine, the clematis, convolvulus, and other 
creeping plants ; but these have for the most part been destroyed 
by veldt fires, or ruthlessly plucked up for fuel by the natives. 
Besides these large detached mountains, isolated " koppies " are 
frequently to be met with, and enormous rocks, often of the 
most fantastic shapes, abound on all sides. Huge crags with 
a perfectly round cap — like mammoth mushrooms wrought in 
stone ; grotesquely shaped blocks perched aloft upon colossal 
bases, like so many griffins or quaint caricatures of man ; great 
splinters of rock resembling in shape tables, vases, or broken 
■obelisks — all these and more meet the eye of the traveller, and 
form constantly recurring objects of astonishment and delight. 
These flat-topped mountains are indeed one of the most striking 
features of the country. Usually they are, as I have said, 
"detached, but sometimes they are united together for long 
distances, and form sub-ranges of their own, which stretch away 
for miles and miles from the foot of the Malutis westwards until 


they are lost in the great plateau of the Orange Free State. 
Some of these sub-ranges, like the Platbergen, are so extensive, 
and their summits so well watered and so thickly covered with 
soil and clothed with grass, that large farms are to be found 
upon their tops. These farms often possess many acres of rich 
arable land, and their owners are, as may be supposed, a hardy, 
sturdy race, living as they do in exposed, breezy homesteads 
built at an elevation of 6,000 or 6,500 feet above the level of the 

Speculation has been rife as to the origin of these flat-topped 
hills. If I might venture to put forth an opinion upon such a 
subject, I should say that, after a long residence in the country 
and much thought and careful observation, the conclusion which 
most commends itself to my mind is that the flat tops of these 
mountains — stretching away as they do westwards — were 
centuries ago the . ordijianj level of the country. The present 
level must therefore be some 800 feet or more below the 
original one, and this I believe to be the fact. The mighty rush 
of water from the Malutis, often continuous for months together 
during the rainy season, must have eaten out deep channels 
during its vehement onward flow, and as time went on these 
channels gradually became wider where the ground was softest. 
More and more of the soil was perpetually carried downwards 
towards the great table-lands- of the west, thus causing the 
sloping and undulating belt of country lying between these 
iable-lands and the mountainous region to the east of them. 
JBut the solid rock — often, as we have seen, for miles in extent 
— remained disintegrated, resisting the force and solvent power 
of the rushing waters, and in the end forming this remarkable 
series of detached and elevated plateau or solitary flat-topped 
mountains. It must, of course, have taken ages to effect such a 
result, but anyone who has lived long in the Lesuto can easily 
imagine the process — nay, can even now see it going on, and 
-continued still further. Year by year new shoots, ravines, and 


fissures are being formed by the downward rush of the waters 
along the hillsides in the rainy season, and the old ones are 
• becoming wider and wider. Some of them, indeed, have already 
become so broad that the rich, loamy soil on their sloping sides 
is utilised for cultivation, and long, irregular patches of the 
finest maize may often be seen far under the ordinary level of 
the land. Old Basutos, after a long absence from their birth- 
place, will often exclaim on revisiting it : " Hele ! where has 
this lenrjope (sloot, watercourse) come from ? It was not here 
when I was a boy. The ground was flat and level, where now 
I see a deep and yawning chasm. Hele I God is great, and His 
works are wonderful." 

No wonder the Mosuto loves his country. It is, indeed, a 
fascinating laud — a land of lofty mountains and smiling plains, 
where the grass is often as green as in England or Ireland ; a 
land of rushing rivers, babbling brooks, and flowing fountains ; 
of beetling crags and bewitching waterfalls — one of these latter 
(the Malutsuanyane) being nearly 700 feet in height. It is the 
natural home and abiding-place of countless flocks and herds, 
signs to the native of peace and plenty ; where often and often 
when the rest of South Africa is parched and dried with drought, 
there is " a sound as of an abundance of rain," when the great 
thunder clouds floating over the Drakensbergen from the Indian 
Ocean, big and black with pent-up moisture, burst, and shower 
their welcome freight upon the waiting, grateful earth. 

The climate, too, though, as I have said, rough and extreme 
for Africa, is nevertheless magnificent. To the Englishman it is 
especially so : cold, dry, bright and bracing in winter ; hot, but 
seldom unendurably so, in summer. And if, in springtime, 
boisterous winds and drifting storms sometimes combine to make 
one feel that nothing perfect is to be looked for on earth, the 
passing unpleasantness is more than compensated for by the 
gentle, balmy days of cloudless sunshine that follow, and the 
moderate, genial warmth of the calm and restful autumn. 


But who are the inhabitants of Basutoland? Whence did 
they come, and what manner of people are they ? 

These questions are important enough to demand a separate 
chapter for their answer. 


The Basutos. 

The Bushmen — The Bantoo Races — Their Origin — The Basuto Branch 
— Sebetoane — The Bamonageng — The Basutos of to-day — Moshesh — His 
Career and Conquests — Moselikatse and Thaba Bosigo — The Korannas — 
Basutoland a British Protectorate —Wars with Boer Settlers — With the 
Barolong — With the English — Berea — Sikonyela — The Basuto-Dutch War 
— Intervention of England— Settlement by Sir Philip Wodehouse — the Sons 
of Moshesh — Letsie — Masupha — Molapo. 

The first inhabitants of Basutoland were Bushmen. Where 
they came from, and how long they occupied the country, are 
qoiestions which probably can never be answered. It is enough 
to say that when the Basutos first made this mountain land 
their home they found the bushmen already there. They con- 
quered them, or rather, little by little exterminated them. 
Bushmen drawings and paintings, flint and iron arrow heads, and 
the names of many of the mountains and hills, bear witness to 
the fact that the Lesuto was once the abode of these *' human 
scorpions," as the Basutos term them. Their paintings abound 
in the many caves and grottoes of the country, and under the 
gigantic overhanging rocks of the mountains. These drawings 
are usually sketches of animals, the ox and the antelope being 
the most frequent, and are often neatly, nay cleverly, done in 
coloured ochres and clays, the dark reddish brown of the oxen 
being the most conspicuous. 

The Bushmen were apparently, for the most part, a race of 
cave dwellers^ veritable troglodytes. Perhaps they fled to these 


strongholds and took refuge in them through fear of the darker 
and more powerful northern tribes which, as time went on, 
began to bear down upon them, and threatened gradually to 
exterminate them. Perhaps they made these caves and dens of 
the earth their homes and dwelling places from idleness, or from 
want of skill in building : for we know that nowhere did the 
Bushman construct any habitation other or better than a rude 
and temporary shelter — it could hardly be called a hut — made of 
twigs, and bushes; a human nest indeed, but neither so softly 
lined nor so deftly woven together as that of a bird. 

Like the untamed creatures, the lion and the panther, which 
he hunted and laid low with his poisoned arrow, the untamed 
and untameable Bushman has disappeared from his former 
home. When I first went to reside in Basutoland, a few of 
these outcast Ishmaels of the human race were still to be found, 
dragging out a precarious existence in the innermost fastnesses 
of the Malutis ; and from time to time, when their depredations 
became too audacious, and the choicest cattle had been carried 
off by them, the Basuto chiefs would organise a commando and 
literally track them to their dens, and hunt them down there ► 
One chief, the renowned Morosi, a vassal of Moshesh, and the 
head of the Baphuti, living in the mountains in the south, used 
to shoot down the men, but spare the women and children. The 
young girls and women were carried off to his harem, or divided 
among his warriors. The children grew up side by side with 
those of their conquerors, and learnt their language, habits, and 
customs ; but rarely did any of them remain for more than a few 
years. On the first favourable opportunity they would escape 
to their old haunts, and wage war against every man, until they 
in turn perished by the bullet or the assagai. 

The great majority of the present inhabitants of Basutoland 
are Basutos, the remainder being Zulus, Fingoes, and people of 
mixed blood from among the Kafir races. 

The Basutos are one of the main branches of the great Bantu 


family. Bantu is simply the Kaffir word for j^eoj^le, and it is the 
name now usually given by European writers to the section of 
the human race inhabiting South-Eastern Africa. ^'In the 
division of mankmd thus named are included," " says Mr. Theal, 
** all those Africans who use a language which is inflected 
principally by means of prefixes, and which, in the construction 
of sentences, follows certain rules depending upon harmony in 
sound. The Bantu family is divided into numerous tribes 
politically independent of each other. Each tribe is composed 
of a number of clans, which generally have traditions of a 
common origin at no very remote date ; in some instances, how- 
ever, the tribes consist of clans pressed together by accident 
or war, and whose relationship is too remote to be traced by 

That these tribes came originally from the north, travelling 
southwards, probably by successive migrations, from the coast 
districts of the continent, there can, I think, be little doubt. 
They vary in colour from light brown to the deepest black. Not 
only among the same tribes, but even in the same families, these 
differences of hue present themselves ; some individuals being 
of the lightest brown, indeed almost tawny, while others are as 
black as the purest negro. And this difference as to degree of 
colour manifests itself strikingly in their physique. Some of the 
Bantu — notably those of lighter hue — are almost Arab in their 
appearance ; tall, beautifully built, with aquiline noses, upright 
foreheads, and lips almost as thin as those of Europeans. 
Indeed, but for the colour of their skin, and the texture of their 
hair, which is always woolly, they might be taken as fine 
examples of the Caucasian type of man. Others have the thick 
lips, flat noses, and low receding foreheads of the negro. The 
Bantu can hardly be said to be purely African. They are pro- 
bably a mixed race, sprung from the intercourse of Asiatics — 
Arabs or Persians, or both — many centuries ago with the 

* Theal, Hist, of the Boers, Cap. I., p. 1. 


Africans of the eastern coast lands, and having both Asiatic and 
negro blood flowing in their veins. " Ordinarily they present the 
appearance of a peaceable, good-natured, indolent people ; but 
they are subject to outbursts of great excitement, when the most 
savage passions have free play. The man who spends the 
greater part of his time in gossiping in idleness, preferring a 
condition of semi-starvation to toiling for bread, is hardly recog- 
nisable when, plumed and adorned with military trappings, he 
has worked himself into frenzy with the war-dance. The period 
of excitement is, however, short. In the same way their 
outbursts of grief are very violent, but are soon succeeded by 
cheerfulness." * 

When these tribes migrated from the north and began to 
occupy the lands in which they now dwell it is impossible to say, 
but there are reasons for supposing that it was at no very remote 
period. But in their progress as they pushed their way south- 
wards, they came upon the great range of mountains which 
separates Central South Africa from the low-lying lands of the 
South-E astern coast. Here they would seem to have divided ; 
one section of them going to the left, and occupying the warm 
fertile region between the mountains and the Indian Ocean ; the 
other keeping to the right, and still advancing southwards on the 
^vestern side of the mountains, seems after a time to have become 
separated into two large parties. The first of these kept close to 
the Drakensbergen and the Malutis, taking possession of their 
slopes, and of the undulating country between these ranges and 
the plains of the central plateau ; the other spread out in a 
south-westerly direction, and eventually occupied the elevated 
table-lands which extend for hundreds of miles between the 
undulating country on the east, and the Kalahari desert on the 

We thus get three great branches or divisions of the Bantu 
race : The Coast Tribes, the Mountain Tribes, and the Western 
Tribes. I 

* Theal. Ibid., p. 2. f Cf. Theal. Hist. 


The first of these comprises all those tribes known to 
Europeans as Kafirs — viz., the Amakosa, the Pondos, the 
Tembus, the Pondomisi, the Xesibes, the Bacas, and others of 
less importance, together with the Fingoes, and the more 
northerly tribes of Zulus, Matebele, and Swazies. 

The group of Mountain Tribes consisted of the Bamonageng^ 
theBatlokoa, the Baphuti, the Makhoakhoa, the Baramokhele, and 
perhaps some others ; and the descendants and representatives 
of these, welded together as a nation by Moshesh, are named 

The Western Tribes, inhabiting the great central plains, com- 
prised the Baharutsi, the Bangoaketsi, the Bakuena, the 
Barolong, the Batlaping, and others. But the Batlaping, the 
most southerly and the most degraded of these tribes, can now 
hardly be called pure Bantu, intermarrying as they have done 
with Korannas and other races of Hottentot extraction. These 
Western Tribes are known as the Bechuanas. 

These two last great divisions of the Bantu family — the 
Basutos and the Bechuanas — though they differ from each other 
in many important respects, have much more in common than 
either of them has with their brethren of the coast lands. The 
great mountain range which separates these latter from the 
western clans must have often formed a serious barrier to inter-, 
course between the two sections. Such intercourse as did exist 
was confined for the most part to the coast tribes and the 
Basutos ; and hence these latter came to occupy an intermediate 
position, not only geographically, but also as regards language 
And customs, between the two extreme sections of the Bantu 
Tace. The three divisions now speak three languages, or more 
strictly, three dialects of a common language. But between 
Sesuto and Sechuana, the languages of the Basutos and the 
Bechuanas, there is much less difference than between Sesuto 
and Setebele — the language of the Coast Tribes. A Mosuto and 
ii Mochuana will understand one another without much difficulty, 


but a Masuto and a Zulu find it very hard, in fact almost 
impossible, to converse together, so greatly have the two dialects; 
diverged as time has gone on. Of the three languages Setebele or 
Zulu is generally considered the grandest and most sonorous, 
Sesuto the softest, and Sechuana the least euphonious. The 
leading vowel of the first named is u (oo), of the second e (a)> 
and of the third o ; the chief consonants of each being respec- 
tively V, ng, and z ; 1 and t ; and k and a hard guttural g. 
*' Zulu is the language of bold men and warriors; Sesuto of 
polite men and diplomatists ; Sechuana of hunters and peasants/" 
This is, of course, a Basuto estimate of the three, and must be 
taken accordingly. 

The Basutos and Bechuanas are, as a rule, inferior to the 
Kafirs in physical strength and beauty of form. Being less war- 
like and caring less for violent exercises, they lead a more pastoral 
and sedentary life, and perhaps their physique has suffered in 
consequence. But they often make up for this physical 
inferiority by superior mental power, more refined social 
habits, and a greater aptitude and desire for civilised employ- 

The Mountain Tribes, that is to say the Basuto clans in their 
entirety, may be traced to-day from Kaffraria in the south, north- 
wards through Basutoland and the Transvaal to the banks of the 
Zambesi. Nay, they are even found beyond that river, for the 
Makololo, mentioned so often by Livingstone and other African 
travellers, are a section of the Mautati, one of the leading clans 
of the Basutos, who migrated northwards from the borders of 
Basutoland under the leadership of the celebrated chief Sebetoane 
in 1824, and who have contrived to hold their own up to this 
present day against the savage hosts of the Matebele. 

Before going further it may perhaps be well to explain the 
meaning of the more important prefixes of some of the native 
names which have already been used, and which will of necessity 
recur from time to time in this narrative. The following 


explanation will help to make these names and terms clear to the 
reader : — 

Mo is the singular prefix to Personal Substantives. 

Ba the i^lural to the same. But some words take he and 
ISla instead. 

Se refers to the language or customs of a people. 

Lie to the country belonging to a tribe. 

A few examples will make these rules quite clear. 

Mosuto, A single individual of the Basuto tribe. This word is 
spelt in Sesuto Mosutho, and pronounced Mo-soo-to, with the addi- 
tion of an aspirate thrown in between the t and the o, there being no 
sound in the language equivalent to the English th. The accent 
is on the penultimate, and each syllable ends in a vowel ; and 
this is the case with nearly all words in the language. 

Basuto (Basutho). Two or more members of the tribe. 

Morolong, A single individual of the Barolong people. 

Barolong, Two or more of the Barolong people'^'. 

Letebele. A single individual of the Kafir or Zulu tribes. 

Matebele. Two or more individuals of these tribes. 

Lekhoakhoa, A single individual of the Makhoakhoa tribe. 

Makhoakhoa, Two or more of that tribe. 

Mochuana. A single individual of the Bechuana tribes. 

Bachuana, or more often Bechuana, Two or more of the above. 

Sesuto (Sesutho). The language, laws, or customs of the 

Setebele, The language, &c., of the Kafirs or Zulus. 

Sechiiana (or Secoana). The language, &c., of the 

Lesitto (JjQ^uiho), The country of the Basutos, i.e., Basuto- 
land. The names of foreign nations and their languages follow 
the same rules. Examples : 

Lekhooa, A white man. 

* These two words are exceptions to the general rule just given as to 
accent and vowel ending. The accent here is on the ultimate. 


MakJiooa. White men. 

Moroa, A Bushman or Hottentot. 

Baroa, The phiral of the above. 

Seroa, The language, &c., of Bushmen or Hottentots. 

Sekhooa, The language, &c., of white men. 

In the same way the Basuto Christians are called derisively 
by the heathen Mayakane, the jjeople ivho have changed their chief. 
But among themselves they are known as Bakreste (plural of 
Mokreste), those of the Christ] or Badumedi (plural of Modumedi) 
the Believers, or the Faithful, The Basuto Christians in com- 
munion with the English Church are called Machurche ; those 
of the French Protestant Mission, Mafora ; and those of the 
Eoman Catholic Mission Baroma, 

In the latter half of the last century the Paramount Chief 
of the Basuto people, which then consisted of five principal 
clans, was Motlomi. He was held in great veneration by the 
whole tribe, and exercised paramount power over it until his 
death, which took place in or about the year 1814. These five 
clans were the Bamonageng, the Batlokoana, the Baramokhele, 
the Makhoakhoa, and the Mayiane, and they occupied what is 
now known as Basutoland, together with the eastern and north 
eastern parts of the present Orange Free State. After the decease 
of Motlomi, there seems to have been no one with sufficient ability 
or force of character to take his place, and accordingly some of 
the nearest Coast Tribes, chiefly the Amahlubi and the 
Amangoane, after fighting with one another, suddenly fell upon 
the Mountain Tribes, who, from want of a leader and head, had 
to meet this sudden onslaught and invasion as best they could, 
each clan for itself, without any common plan of action. But a 
young and somewhat obscure chief was rising, and even then 
coming into prominence, who, against desperate odds and many 
reverses , was destined to weld together the whole of ^he moun- 
tain clans and form them into what has since become known 


everywhere as the Basuto nation. The name of this young chief 
was Moshesh. 

Moshesh was born about the year 1786^ at Dinchuaneng, on 
the Kiver Thlotse (Tlotsi), not far from my own mission station 
of St. Saviour's, Born at a time of dissension and disturbance, 
he was called at first Lepoko, "Dispute." At his circumcision, 
when attaining to manhood, he took the name of Tlajnitle, 
** The Energetic," because of his activity and prominence in 
public affairs, youthful as he was. He was rapidly coming to 
the front ; and when, some years afterwards, he had established 
for himself a name and reputation as a leader of men, he 
received from the iribe the name of Moshesh (Moshueshue), 
*' The Shaver " — a fitting appellation, and the name by which 
he w^as ever afterwards known. 

By birth he was not of the highest, or even of a very high 
rank ; his family being of so little repute that it is now difficult 
to trace his lineage very far back with anything approaching to 
certainty. He was the son of Mokhachane, the younger son of 
Pete, who about the year 1823 was eaten by cannibals. Pete 
was the son of a widow of the chief Sekake, and accordingly 
took legal rank as that chief's son, though his actual father w^as, 
it is believed, a native of one of the Coast Tribes, to whom his 
mother had been given in marriage after Sekake's death. 

I have often conversed with relatives, counsellors, and com- 
panions of Moshesh, and the mention of his name never fails to 
evoke the greatest enthusiasm for his memory. One of his 
most trusted and favourite nephews, Nathanaele Makotoko, the 
son of his brother Makhabane, has been for the last ten years 
residing at Thlotse Heights, the headquarters of my own 
mission station, and I am proud to reckon him among my 
closest friends. Nathanaele is not only an able chief and a man 

♦Theal makes the date "about 1793," but I am inclined to place it 
earlier. As far as I can ascertain the young chief was circumci&ed in 
1803, and he must then have been about seventeen years of age. 


of wise and ripe counsel in all the affairs of the nation ; he is 
also the '' hero of a hundred fights." Best of all, he is a good 
and sincere Christian. He was converted to Christianity more 
than twenty years ago through the influence of one of the 
French Protestant missionaries, and has proved himself worthy 
of the name he bears. He is, too, emphatically a ** nature's 
gentleman," as all who know him can testify. He is an old 
man now of over seventy years, but his intellect is unclouded, 
and his memory as clear and retentive as ever. Many a 
pleasant evening have we spent together in my study or under 
the verandah of the mission house, chatting over old times and 
scenes in which the old man bore a prominent part. It is 
from him more than from any other source that the leading 
details of Moshesh's life and career which I here desire to place 
before the reader are derived. The career of the great Mosuto is 
well known to thousands, and has been described by several 
writers; but it may not, perhaps, be amiss to record it once more 
as briefly and succinctly as possible, from testimony thus received 
at first hand from one on the spot so eminent in character and 
abilities as the son of Makhabane. 

Moshesh, according to the testimony of all who knew him, 
both European and native, was a man of commanding and 
dignified presence, with pleasant, attractive features, and a well- 
formed person. In his youth he was, like most other young 
chiefs, addicted to the chase, brave and fearless, and especially 
fond of hunting the elands and other large animals which were 
then found in the mountain gorges near his own birthplace. 
These hunting excursions must have done much to exercise and 
develop his activity and strength, and doubtless contributed to 
make him wary as well as bold in the almost incessant warfare 
in which the earlier years of his manhood were to be spent. He 
was by birth but a petty chief of little rank or standing in the 
tribe, though distantly related to the royal house of Monageng; 
but unaided and by his own abilities he saved the Basuto clans 


from destruction, and raised himself to be their leader and king. 
Take him all in all he was probably the greatest native that 
South Africa has produced. An intrepid warrior, cautious as 
^ell as bold on the battlefield, an astute, far-seeing statesman, a 
strong and sagacious ruler, a consummate diplomatist — un- 
scrupulous and crafty where his interests or those of his people 
were concerned — he was nevertheless a firm and faithful friend 
to all who sought his protection or espoused his cause. He was 
not a Christian, and must not be judged by a Christian standard. 
The first half of his life was spent in the dreary darkness of 
African heathenism. Before a single ray of the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ had shone upon his path his career had been half run, and 
liad already marked him out as a born leader of men. No doubt 
he could be untruthful and unscrupulous in his dealings with 
others when it served his purpose. A heathen African chief, 
born and brought up as he was, would naturally act upon the 
maxim that ** language was given to man to enable him to 
disguise his thoughts " as occasion might serve. He was a 
savage, ruling over savages more barbarous than himself, some 
of whom, indeed, were even cannibals. Judged by the standard 
of his own time and circumstances, it must be allowed by all 
that he was a remarkable man — a man towering head and 
shoulders above his fellows. 

Moshesh's first military attempts were not altogether success- 
ful. Upon the invasion of his country by a section of the 
warlike tribes of the coast he took up a strong position at Buta- 
Bute, a mountain to the north of his birthplace, and at no great 
distance from ifc, and endeavoured, by the aid of a few chosen 
warriors, chiefly companions in the chase, to make a stand there. 
He must then have been in the full vigour of his manhood. He 
appears to have held his own against the invaders, who were 
Fingoes under Pakalita, and Zulus under Mateoane. These 
latter were fugitives from their own land, who had long groaned 
under the iron yoke of Chaka. But the Batlokoa, a mountain 


tribe on the Caledon, under Ma-Ntatisi, were at feud with the 
house of Monageng, and being much more powerful than such a 
petty chief as Moshesh, they succeeded, after several hand-to- 
hand encounters, in driving them from his advanced position at 
Buta-Bute. This was probably in the winter of 1824. He and 
his people, indeed the Bamonageng generally, seem at this time 
to have been reduced to great destitution. The inroads of the 
two Matebele tribes under Mateoane and Pakalita, and the havoc 
committed by the Batlokoa, had reduced the land to desolation 
and anarchy. The result of this incessant strife was that the 
fields and gardens were uncultivated, no corn could be grown, food 
became scarcer, and the horrors of famine were added to those 
of war. Some sections of the tribe were altogether ruined, and 
brought to abject want. '' Hunger is a sharp thorn," and, as 
old Moroka, the chief of the Barolong at Thaba 'Nchu, once 
expressed it, '' a hungry man does not know what he might do. 
He might eat his own grandfather." Some of the Basutos did 
this. There had been cannibals in the land before the war, and 
now their numbers began rapidly to increase. In their utter 
extremity many of the people gave themselves up to murder and 
rapine. The ties of kindred and friendship were forgotten. 
Bands of famished wretches roamed about pillaging and 
destroying, and then feasting upon the victims laid low by the 
tomahawk and the spear. Those who did so, having once tasted 
human flesh, began, horrible as it may seem, to conceive a liking 
for it, and ended by forming themselves into separate parties, 
whose one object was to wage an inhuman war upon their fellow 
creatures. They laid snares and ambushes for the wayfarer, 
and spared neither high nor low. Their lurking-places were 
usually the caverns of the mountains. One of these ** cannibal 
caves " is only a short day's ride from my own mission station. 
Its ground is still thickly covered with half-roasted skulls and 
broken bones ; while large red blotches are clearly perceptible 
upon its walls, against which the bleeding corpses of the hapless 


victims had been piled up. In some places the blood has stained 

the rock so deeply that it will perhaps take centuries to efface the 

traces of it. Cannibalism ceased in Basutoland nearly half a 

century ago, but here and there some old and degraded-looking 

creatures may now and then still be met with who are known to 

have been man-eaters. One is told so, at any rate. *' You see 

the old man sitting up against the wall yonder, Monere ? Well, 

he was in his youth a ledimo — cannibal. There are not many 

of them left now. Moshesh put them down, and we thank God 

that such a dreadful custom has come to an end." You ride on 

mth a sigh, the words of the Christian poet coming unbidden to 

the mind : — 

' ' Where every prospect pleases, 
And only man is vile." 

Upon his retreat from Buta-Bute Moshesh took up a strong 
position upon Thaba Bosigo ('' The Mountain of Night "), a 
mountain fortress some two days' distance to the south-west. 
This mountain fortress, though often attacked, has never beea 
taken, and is regarded by the Basutos as impregnable. On its 
summit Moshesh set up his Khothla, and from hence he bore 
sway over many a tribe and people as the great '' Chief of the 
Mountain," and here, too, he died. Here also the most cele- 
brated members of his family are buried, for Thaba Bosigo has 
ever since been the last resting place of the royal house. When 
Moshesh first established himself upon the mountain there was 
a Baphuti village at its foot, inhabited by None and his people, 
but he and they were promptly *' eaten up " by Mankoniane,. 
Moshesh's chief captain, and driven away southwards. 

Moshesh now endeavoured with all his might to strengthen 
and consolidate his position. He was surrounded by enemies. 
His own subjects were nothing better than a horde of plundered 
and starving fugitives, with cannibals among them literally 
'* biting and devouring one another." The Matebele and the- 
Fingoes were a standing menace in the north ; the Baphuti, by^ 


210 means peaceably inclined — and no wonder — in the south 
while the Batlokoa, his most deadlv enemies, were ever on the 
alert close to his very birthplace. In addition to these, Griqua 
and Koranna, marauders from the plains of the w^est, mounted 
on horses and armed with guns (animals and weapons as yet 
unpossessed by Moshesh or his people) were constantly roaming 
along the banks of the Orange and the Caledon, and swooping 
down upon the Lesuto when least expected. But in the end he 
subdued them all. 

His first stand against the Matebele and the Fingoes had 
l3een so successful that, notwithstanding his retirement from 
Buta-Bute, numbers of his countrymen began to flock to his 
Khothla, recognising in him the leader so much needed at the 
present crisis. The hour had produced the man. His fame was 
quickly spread abroad among the Basutos, and Thaba Bosigo 
became the rallying-point of the shattered fragments of the tribe. 
These now speedily united together, and acquired fresh confidence 
and strength under their new leader and head. 

Moshesh always knew when to wait. Wary and sagacious, 
when war was not advisable diplomacy was employed, and often 
with the best results. Nay, he was even ready to humble 
himself before a too-powerful enemy in order to gain time. Thus, 
before his position was firmly established, he paid homage to the 
chief of the Amangoane, acknowledged himself as his vassal, and 
Tendered him a regular tribute from the spoil taken in his 
numerous and varied expeditions. Fortunately for him and his 
people some of his most inveterate and most formidable enemies 
began after the lapse of a few years to quarrel amongst themselves. 
Two of them, Pakalita and Mateoane, fought not far from the 
banks of the Caledon at a spot close to the present village of 
Xiadybrand, with the result that the Amahlubi were routed, and 
their chief, Pakalita, followed up and slain. But the victorious 
Mateoane and his warriors soon afterwards themselves sustained 
a severe defeat from another and more powerful foe. They fell 


into the hands of an army sent against them by Ghaka, the Zulu 
King, and were compelled to retire altogether from this part of 
South Africa. Thus the Amahlubi and the Amangoane troubled 
Basutoland no more. 

Moshesh now turned his attention to the Batlokoa. The 
€hief of this tribe was Sikonyela, the son of Ma Ntatisi. He had 
•only lately succeeded to the chieftainship, and was a man not 
wanting in ability. But, according to Basuto testimony, he was 
as ferocious as he was faithless and crafty. He was defeated by 
his rival in two well- organised and ably-conducted expeditions, 
and soon afterwards the two chiefs made terms of peace together. 
The Batlokoa were at that time the most powerful of all the 
mountain tribes, and were destined to be a thorn in the side of 
Moshesh for years to come. 

But the Basuto chief had foes in his own household. His 
most formidable domestic enemies were the cannibals, and he 
resolved to put them-down if need were with a strong hand. He 
exerted all his energy and all his influence to abolish the 
cannibalism which prevailed so largely amongst a section of the 
people. But he was loth to shed the blood of his own subjects, 
and trusted more to moral suasion than to the force of arms. 
Seeing that this inhuman practice had crept into the tribe in the 
first instance through want, and knowing that it was foreign to 
national customs and traditions, he relied upon the growing pros- 
perity of his people more than upon anything else for its extinction. 
And the event proved that he was ri^ht. With increasing pros- 
perity and assured peace and safety the horrible custom gradually 
died out. Yet there were not wanting among his advisers many 
who urged him to exterminate the men-eaters at once and at all 
Tisks. He saw, however, that this would in all probability 
lead to a civil war, and help to depopulate still more a land 
already half denuded of its inhabitants, and he had no wish to 
light up by his own direct action the flames of domestic discord. 
On the contrary, feeling that unity is strength, his chief aim was 


to cultivate peace and harmony at home, that thus he might 
be able, by a united front, to defend his subjects from the 
invasions of the many enemies by whom they were so constantly 

Ill connection with this subject there is a well-known story 
told of him which illustrates at once his adroitness and sense of 
humour. On one occasion, when his counsellors urged him to 
deal summarily with a party of cannibals who had only lately 
way-laid, killed and eaten an inoffensive traveller, the chief 
manifested, for reasons best known to himself, a clear disinclina- 
tion to follow their advice. Chagrined at his apparent callous- 
ness, they went on to remind him that it was to such wretches 
that his own grandfather owed his death. ''You are doubly 
bound," they said, "to exterminate these men-eaters. Not 
only the safety of your people, but also the honour due to your 
ancestor requires that you should act promptly and at once. 
Instead of which you treat these human tigers with such con- 
sideration that, did we not know you, we should be almost 
tempted to say that they were your special friends and proteges.'* 
" Well," said the chief, with that grave and effective irony, 
for which in after days he was so celebrated, " I have always 
been told that a man owjJit to venerate the tombs of his ancestors.'' 

In 1825 the Baphuti were conquered and reduced to submis- 
sion, their chiefs from henceforth acknowledging the headship of 
Moshesh. A few years afterwards the great chief himself,, 
finding that the Zulu King was becoming jealous of his 
increasing power and meditating an expedition against him^ 
humbled himself to Chaka, and appeased his wrath by sending 
him as a vassal the usual subsidies of karosses and ostrich 
feathers. Indeed the old men tell me that the Basutos have 
always owned the Zulu monarch as, in some sense, their 
suzerain, and sent him axinually their tribute of homage either 
in the shape of cattle or of plumes and furs. 

Almost every Englishman at all acquainted with the history 


of South Africa has heard of the terrible Moselekatse, but few, I 
think, know that the only check his forces ever received at the 
hand of a native potentate was given to them by Moshesh. It was 
in 1831 that these redoubtable warriors were sent by their master 
against the Basutos. The ferocious Matebele chief, a runaway, 
rebellious captain of Chaka's, had already devastated the greater 
part of the vast territory between the Limpopo and the Orange ; 
eating up the unhappy Bechuana tribes in the same way and on 
the same scale that the Tartars of the Middle Ages invaded and 
laid waste the cities and towns of Eussia. Moselekatse and his 
invincible hordes were the scourge of all the tribes north of the 
Orange until they received their final check and were driven to 
the north of the Limpopo by the Boers in revenge for several 
atrocious massacres which the latter had suffered at their hands. 
Moselekatse was not himself at the head of the expedition against 
the Basutos, or perhaps events might have turned out differently. 
The Matebele, having plundered and laid bare the country along 
their line of march, at length halted under the willow trees which 
lined the banks of the Putiatsana, a pretty little stream not far 
from the foot of Thaba Bosigo. There they sat down and 
rested after the fatigue of their long three hundred mile journey ; 
bathing themselves daily in the cool, limpid water, sharpening 
their assagais, arranging their head-plumes, and dancing their 
war dance preparatory to investing the stronghold of the man 
they were sent to conquer. The Basutos watched it all from the 
heights above, and did all that lay in their power to prepare for 
the onslaught of their dreaded foe. They barricaded the few 
entries to their stronghold with huge boulders, and carefully 
repaired and strengthened the breast-works at the top of the 
mountain, erecting strong and substantial schansen at any point 
where an ascent seemed possible. 

On the morning of the attack the Zulu — or rather Matebele 
— host divided itself into two columns, which delivered the 
assault simultaneously from two opposite points. The rush was 


terrific, and seemed irresistible. Eegarding themselves as invin- 
cible Moselekatse's warriors, pressed forward with the utmost 
confidence up the precipitous sides of the mountain, heedless of 
the rocks and stones hurled upon them from above. But the 
mountain was so steep, the paths so thoroughly blocked with 
boulders, and the schansen so well guarded, that, in spite of every 
effort, they were unable to reach the summit. Then there 
ensued a general crash. Avalanches of stones and showers of 
well-directed javelins— the short, light assagai of the Basutos — 
forced back the assailants, and compelled them to retreat in haste 
and disorder. Their leader and his lieutenants, mad with rage 
and fury, rallied the fugitives, trampling their plumes and war 
trappings under their feet. Once more they led them to the 
assault, this time delivered with even greater force and fury than 
before. But it was all in vain. The besieged rained torrents of 
rocks, stones, boulders, and spears down upon them, and the 
hitherto '' ever victorious army " was compelled to retire. The 
victory was a decisive one for the Basutos, for next morning the 
Matebele retreated homewards. 

Then Moshesh did a noteworthy deed which the Basutos to 
this day never fail to relate with pardonable pride and pleasuie* 
Seeing the dreaded hosts of his adversary thus turning their 
'backs upon him crestfallen and in sullen despair, partly no 
doubt from motives of policy, but also — we can hardly doubt it 
— with that fine sense of humour which so distinguished him^ 
he sent their commander a handsome present of the finest and 
fattest oxen,vrith the following message: — •' Moshesh salutes you. 
Supposing that hunger has brought you into his country, and 
feeling sure that you must be exhausted after your prodigious 
and fruitless efforts, he sends you these cattle as a reward of 
your braveii/, that you may have food for yourselves on your ivay 
home. He desires to live in peace with you and with all men." 

They accepted the gift, and went away singing the praises 
of so great and magnanimous a chief; vowing at the same 


time that they would never more molest him. And they kept 
their word. Whether from fear or from admiration of a 
character so unique, I cannot say ; but they never again 
appeared in Basutoland, though its inhabitants were for years to 
come in constant dread of them. 

But no sooner was one enemy got rid of than another 
appeared. Bands of marauding Korannas and Griquas swooped 
down upon the flocks and herds of the Basutos, carrying off the 
choicest cattle. For years did these ravages continue ; but at 
length these ferocious robbers were chastised and subdued, nay^ 
almost exterminated. Fragments only of them remained. The 
remnant of the Griquas was dispersed among the tribes to the 
westward, and the Korannas retreated to distant hills, where 
they learnt to respect their neighbours and live with them in 

In 1833, at the desire of the Wesleyan missionaries, Moshesh 
ceded the western portion of his territory (the country round 
Thaba 'Nchu) to the Barolong, a fugitive Bechuana tribe 
which had fled southwards to escape annihilation at the hands 
of the hordes of Moselekatse. These Barolong, under their 
chief Moroka, were thus saved from destruction, and continued 
to possess the Thaba 'Nchu territory until the troubles of 
1884 ended their national existence. 

With the expulsion of Moselekatse by the Boers and the 
dispersion of the few remaining Griqua and Koranna marauders 
an era of comparative peace set in, and the *' Chief of the 
Mountain,'' as Moshesh was now called, was not slow to take 
advantage of it. The Basutos became prosperous, and their 
chief turned his attention more than ever to domestic matters — 
to questions connected with the social well-being, as he under- 
stood it, of the people. If we are to believe the testimony of 
the old men — his contemporaries and counsellors — law and 
order were enforced throughout the Lesuto as they had never 
been before, and as they have not often been since. Men lived 


a^nd moved freely and in safety ; life and property were 
respected and protected ; cannibalism became extinct. 

But this was not all. A new sphere of labour and influence 
was opening out to the quenchless energy of the chief ; a sphere 
which, while it satisfied his ambition, was fraught with splendid 
possibilities for the future of the nation which he had built up 
at the cost of so much toil, and in the teeth of so many 
hindrances and reverses. Henceforth he became the astute 
diplomatist, as well as the successful warrior. Seeing the 
advancing power of the English all over the southern portion of 
Africa he desired to enter into a treaty relationship with them, 
perceiving, doubiless, that in this lay one of the greatest safe- 
guards of his people for the future that might await them. He 
was far-seeing, and his judgment in this not misplaced. His 
wish was made known to the Secretary of State for the Colonies 
by the Governor of the Cape, Sir George Napier, in 1842, and 
from that time forward the Basutos were regarded as under the 
•* protection " of the British Government. As time went on 
treaties were entered into between the Chief and the Governor 
purporting to regulate the relationship between the former and 
the emigrant Boers, who were day by day taking possession of 
the unoccupied tracts of land north of the Orange, and were thus 
becoming his neighbours on the west and south-west. Delimita- 
tions were also made and altered from time to time of the terri- 
tory claimed by his old rival and enemy Sikonyela on the north- 
eastern banks of the Caledon. 

I have neither time nor space to follow in detail the career 
of this remarkable man, and indeed to do so would be foreign to 
the main purpose of this book. It will suffice to say that with 
increasing prosperity as time went on many of the Basutos, 
forgetting the bitter experiences of early days, themselves 
became marauders and ** cattle lifters." If adversity tries a man, 
prosperity does so still more. And as with ihe individual man, 
so it IS with the nation. *' Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked." * 

* Deuteronomy xxxii. 15, 


The Basutos, swollen with pride and fulness of bread, became 
involved in acts of aggression upon their weaker neighbours, 
especially upon the emigrant Boers (then few in number), the 
Barolong, and the Batlokoa. But this state of things could not 
go on indefinitely, and so in the course of time they came into 
collision, not only with these, but also with the British officials 
who ruled, or professed to rule — for they usually had no force 
wherewith to ensure obedience to their proclamations — the 
territory north of the Orange, then known by the name of the 
Orange Eiver Sovereignty. Alas, that it should be said, Moshesh 
hegan to get a bad name. He was regarded as treacherous and 
untruthful, and Major Donovan was sent to punish him and 
bring him to book. The British Commander's force was made 
np of Boers, English settlers, Fingoes, Barolongs, Griquas, 
Koraunas, and Half-castes, and this motley body was hopelessly 
defeated and scattered by Moshesh at Mount Viervoet in June, 
1851. The victorious chief then proceeded to ravage the 
Barolong country (the territory which, it will be remembered, he 
had made over to that tribe nearly twenty years before), carrying 
off many thousand head of cattle, and driving Moroka and his 
people far away across the Modder river. Moreover, by his 
diplomatic skill, as the Basutos love to put it, or his astute un- 
scrupulousness, according to the version of his enemies, he 
succeeded in outwitting the Special Commissioners, Major Hogge 
and Mr. Owen, and frustrating all their efforts to effect a perma- 
nent settlement of affairs or a lasting peace. Matters had 
evidently come to a crisis, and as the British Government 
seemed bent upon holding the Trans-Orange Territory at all 
risks, the Governor of the Cape, Sir George Cathcart, himself 
proceeded next year to chastise the refractory chief. 

The British Eesident of the Sovereignty and the Special 
Commissioners appointed to report upon the raids of the 
Basutos estimated the losses sustained by the Europeans, the 
Barolongs, and others at =£25,000, and recommended that a fine 


of 10,000 head of full-grown cattle, and 1,500 horses should be 
imposed upon Moshesh as compensation for these losses ; and 
also that he should be required to surrender 500 stand of arm& 
(for by this time fire-arms had found their way into the country),, 
in token of his submission and his desire for peace. The 
boundary line laid down before by Major Warden, the former 
British Resident, was also to be preserved intact. 

The force with which the Governor advanced against 
Moshesh was the finest that had ever been seen north of the 
Orange, It was also admirably equipped, and consisted of 
about 2,000 infantry and 500 cavalry, with two field guns. No' 
doubt the Governor hoped that the mere presence of such a 
body of troops would be sufficient to overawe the chief, and 
compel his submission without recourse to hostilities. But in 
this he was mistaken. His Excellency sent an ultimatum to 
Moshesh, of which the following were the main provisions : — 

*' 10,000 head of cattle and 1,000 horses to be delivered within 
three days. 

The restoration to Sikonyela of the cattle taken from him. 

The restoration of Platberg to the Half-castes. 

The cessation of cattle raids, and the observance of peace 
for the future with all the neighbouring tribes and peoples." 

After some fruitless negotiations an extension of time of one. 
day for the collection of the cattle was granted. There is na 
doubt that Moshesh dreaded above all things a war with the 
English. He saw that such a war would almost certainly result 
in the ruin of himself and of his people as an independent tribe. 
But he was overruled by his sons and the younger men 
generally. They had put to flight the commando of Major 
Donovan at Viervoet : why should they fear the red-coats of Sir 
George Cathcart ? 

Moshesh did what he could to meet the Governor's demands^ 
feeling, no doubt, that they were just. But he warned His 
Excellency that " a dog, when beaten, will show Lis teeth," and 


then proceeded to collect together what cattle he could. These 
he sent to the Governor, and they were delivered to the British 
on December 18, 1852, at their camp on the western bank of the 
Caledon. These cattle were distributed to the Barolongs and 
other claimants, and driven off at once to Bloemfontein, the 
headquarters of the British Resident. No more cattle having 
come in, the English General crossed the Caledon on the Monday 
following, and, forming his forces into three divisions, proceeded 
to sweep off the vast herds of cattle which were known to be 
grazing on the heights between Berea and Thaba Bosigo. 
Though the action which followed was claimed by the English 
commander as a victory, it was regarded as a defeat both by his 
own soldiers and by the Basutos.* The casualties on the English 
side were two officers and thirty-five men killed, and fifteen 
wounded ; while it was subsequently ascertained that the Basuto 
loss amounted to no more than twenty killed, and about the 
same number wounded. During the fight part of a troop of the 
12th Lancers, who were collecting cattle on the heights, suffered 
severely. They were surrounded by Molapo's horsemen and 
their retreat cut off, and the ^'Lancers' Gap " at Berea, down 
which they threw themselves, only, in many cases, poor fellows, 
to meet with certain death, is still pointed out with pride by old 
Basuto warriors. It is not necessary to go further into the 
details of this unfortunate engagement, or to do more than 
glance at its results. It will be enough to observe generally 
that the worst of all possible policies towards the black man is to 
promise without performing, or to threaten punishment without 
inflicting it. Sir George Cathcart, no doubt with the best 
intentions, was led to do both these things. He had promised 
the Barolongs and others compensation for their losses, and had 
entered the Lesuto at the head of a splendidly equipped body of 
troops to enforce payment of it. He had sent an ultimatum to 
the Basuto chief, threatening him with condign punishment if 

* Theal, vide supra. 


its provisions were not at once complied with ; and now, having 
failed to enforce at the point of the sword the payment of the 
iine he had inflicted — 10,000 head of cattle and 1,000 horses — 
he seized the first opportunity of withdrawing from the position 
he had taken up. That opportunity was not long in presenting 
itself. Though the British forces had been vastly outnumbered 
in the engagement the Basuto horsemen had noted with awe, as 
well as admiration, the splendid discipline of the small body of 
infantry which advanced against them, and the obstinate stub-- 
bornness with which it held its own against such desperate odds. 
This made a deep impression upon Moshesh, and there was one 
marked trait in his character which availed him greatly at the 
present juncture, if indeed it did not save him and his people 
from national extinction. It was said of him that ''he always 
knew when to humble himself" ; and accordingly, seeing the peril 
of his position, and the certainty that the English would attack 
hmi with redoubled force and determination on the morrow, he 
sent to the Governor the following characteristic epistle''' : — 

'• Thaba Bosigo, Midnight, December 20, 1852. 
"Your Excellency, — This day you have fought against my people 
and taken much cattle. As the object for which you have come is to have a 
compensation for Boers, I beg you will be satisfied with what you have taken. 
I entreat peace from you — you have shown your power— you have chastised — 
let it be enough, I pray you ; and let me be no longer considered an enemy 
to the Queen. I will try all I can to keep my people in order for the future. 

" Your humble servant, 

" Moshesh." 

* This letter was, I think, first made public and given to the world by 
Mr. Theal in his "History of the Boers of South Africa," p. 324. He makes 
the date the 29th, but this is probably a misprint for the 20th, the latter being 
the correct date. I would here take the opportunity of acknowledging my 
obligations to this able and attractive writer. And I may, perhaps, be per- 
mitted to add that it has been a great satisfaction to me to find that my own 
researches, made independently, and for the most part several years before 
the publication of his volume, have been fully borne out by a writer of such 
undoubted authority. 


This letter had the desired effect. The Governor, though he 
had been practically worsted by the chief, and had failed to take 
more than a small portion of the 6,000 head of cattle still due to 
him in accordance with his demand, began to realise the fact 
that he was face to face with an enemy of no ordinary native 
type, to subdue whom would involve, in all probability, a 
protracted and costly war. He was unwilhng, for many reasons, 
to enter upon such a contest. He thought that Moshesh had 
already felt the power of English arms ; and when the chief 
thus humbled himself before him and besought his clemency he 
at once resolved to accord it, and to retire with the best grace he 
could and with the spoils he had gotten from his unenviable 
position. He therefore accepted the chiefs submission, and 
after exhorting him to good behaviour for the future, withdrew 
his forces and returned to the Cape. It is not for me to 
blame him. Sir George Cathcart was a brave soldier, and 
he met, we know, not long afterwards a soldier's death in the 
battlefields of the Crimea. But undoubtedly his action in 
retiring from the Lesuto so hastily with his mission only 
half accomplished, after the threats he had held out, was 
fraught with evil results to the settlers of the Sovereignty and 
to their native allies, as the event testified. In the eyes of 
every native Moshesh was regarded with more pride and venera- 
tion than ever. Had he not succeeded in defeating and driving 
away the armies of England, with no less a personage than the 
great Governor himself at their head ? The Barolongs and other 
fragments of tribes friendly to the white man had been but 
barely half compensated for their losses ; the Europeans looked 
upon the Governor's proceedings with ill-concealed indignation 
and disgust ; and these feelings were intensified when it was 
known soon afterwards that the British Government were 
preparing to abandon altogether the whole of their territories 
north of the Orange. This determination was carried out early 
in 1854 by the British Special Commissioner, Sir George Eussel 


Clark, notwithstanding the indignant protest of the great 
majority of the settlers, and from henceforth the Orange Eiver 
Sovereignty was known as the Orange Eiver Free State. 

While Sir George Clark was making arrangements for the 
abandonment of the Sovereignty, and doing his best to induce its 
inhabitants to form an independent Eepublic of their own, 
Moshesh, seeing his opportunity, and with all his recent laurels 
fresh upon him, suddenly fell upon his old and troublesome 
enemy Sikonyela, and completely routed him, taking not only his 
stronghold, but all his cattle, waggons, and everything else of 
value. Sikonyela and his people, together with his allies the 
Koraunas, were completely eaten up. Vast numbers of the 
Batlokoa perished on the battlefield, Makitikiti, Sikonyela's 
eldest son, being among the number. The whole tribe was, in 
fact, wiped out. The fragments that were left were most of them 
incorporated among the Basutos, intermarried with them, and 
are to-day scarcely distinguishable from them. Only a tiny 
remnant, Ledinyane's people in the northern corner of the 
Leribe district, still retains some of its own tribal customs. 
Sikonyela himself escaped with a handful of his followers, taking 
refuge first in the Sovereignty, and afterwards at Herschel in the 
Cape Colony, where he died in 1856. 

Moshesh was now completely master of the situation, and it 
redounds to his honour that for some years he lived for the most 
part in peace and amity with the Barolong and also with the 
Boers of the new Eepublic. But after 1860, when he had 
become an old man, the scene again changes. He was more 
and more swayed by his sons and nephews, who in their turn 
were influenced by the warlike speeches and the braggadocio of 
the young braves who were continually thirsting to '* wet their 
spears." Marauding exploits once more became frequent. The 
homesteads of the white settlers in the south-eastern districts of 
the Free State were attacked and pillaged, and the choicest 
cattle carried off. Lesooana, or as he was more commonly 


called Eamanella, a nephew of Moshesh, was one of the most 
prominent leaders in these scenes of outrage and robbery, and 
the chief did little or nothing to restrain him. Whether in the 
pride of power he believed himself invincible and secure on his 
mountain throne, or whether old age had weakened his energies, 
I cannot say. It is enough that this rapine and violence 
remained unchecked by him. And doubtless there were faults 
on the side of the white settlers too. But these strained rela- 
tions could not long continue ; war was the inevitable result. 
From 1863 to 1868 war raged everywhere between the Basutos 
and the Boers. At first the former were the victors, ravaging 
nearly every farm along the border, and for many miles to the 
west ; but at length the tide began to turn, and the Boer 
commandos entered Basutoland and made themselves masters of 
the whole country, with the exception of Thaba Bosigo. The 
Basutos were now at their last extremity. The Free State 
forces had made two ineffectual attempts to take the mountain 
fortress and were meditating a third when, at the prayer of 
Moshesh, Sir PhiHp Wodehouse, the Governor of the Cape 
Colony, intervened, and in the Queen's name proclaimed the 
Lesuto British territory, requesting the President of the Orange 
Free State to disband his commandos, and at once leave the country. 
Thus, by the intervention of the British, the Lesuto,or at any 
rate the greater portion of it, was spared to the Basutos, and 
the tribe once more secured a new lease of national existence. 

The Governor himself arrived soon afterwards at Thaba 
Bosigo, and was received by the whole nation with demon- 
strations of unfeigned gratitude and joy. Moshesh in an 
earnest exhortation entreated his people, in the symbolic 
language so well understood by natives, to take shelter in the 
^*cave" which their '^mother," the Queen of England, had so 
graciously provided for them, and never on any account to leave 
it. Should they ever dream of doing so, he warned them that 
their destruction was certain. 


After gaining back the greater part of their country for them^ 
and laying down, in conjunction with Mr. Brand, the President 
of the Orange Free State, a new boundary Hue between the two 
territories, Sir Phihp Wodehouse made what arrangements he 
thought wisest for the government of Basutoland, and appointed 
Mr. Griffith as his representative in the country. 

The '* Chief of the Mountain" did not long survive the 
transfer of his power and authority to the Queen of England. 
He died on March 12, 1870, leaving his eldest son, Letsie, to 
succeed him as Paramount Chief, and his sons Masupha and 
Molapo as chiefs of the districts of Thaba Bosigo and Leribe. 

It is doubtful how far Moshesh embraced the Christian faith. 
He was never baptised, and would never consent to make any 
public confession of the faith of Christ, though often exhorted to 
do so by the Christian missionaries then in the country. He 
kept close to most of the old ideas and customs of his tribe, but 
he invited missionaries to enter the Lesuto, and steadfastly 
protected and defended them. He respected the sanctity of the 
Lord's Day, and through his influence Sunday was known far 
and wide as the day on which no unnecessary or servile work 
ought to be done. He was the one strikingly great man the 
^tribe has produced. His sons were in every way greatly his 
inferiors, and the only one of hid house who at all resembles him 
in capacity and force of character is his grandson, Jonathan 
Molapo, the present chief of the Leribe district. 

After Moshesh's death the Basutos continued in peace and 
prosperity under British rule until the revolt of Morosi in 1879,. 
and the outbreak of the rebellion of the following year. 

During the last ten years thousands of natives of various 
tribes, chiefly Kafirs from the Transkeian territories, and Baro- 
longs from Thaba 'Nchu, have emigrated into Basutoland with 
the consent of Letsie and the other chiefs, and now even the 
remote valleys of the Malutis are rapidly becoming populated. 
A census was taken in 1875, but it was a first attempt, and 


necessarily imperfect and incomplete. It gave the number of 
inhabitants as 127,000, and there has been no census since. It 
is thought that the present population cannot be far, if anything, 
short of a quarter of a milUon. The European population of 
the country is a little over 300. 


Social Life of the Basutos. 

Government — Land Tenure — Common Law— Occupations — Circum- 
cision Rites — Marriage — Polygamy — Habitations — Food — Clothing — 

The reader is now in possession of the leading facts connected 
with the career of the great Chief of the Basutos ; but before 
going further it may, perhaps, be well to say a few words 
concerning the social life of this mountain tribe— their manners 
and customs, usages and laws. 

And first, a word as to their system of government. The 
details of this have naturally been somewhat modified since 1868, 
when the Basutos were first taken under direct British protec- 
tion, but its essential characteristics remain the same. 

The chief is regarded as the source and fountain of all 
authority, the father and ruler of his people ; but he is by no 
means in all respects an absolute monarch. He may not 
infringe the social usages or common laws of the nation, or 
introduce new laws or customs, or make war without the consent 
of at least a majority of his councillors. If he does so, as will 
sometimes happen when he is a man of more than ordinary force of 
character, he must take the consequences. At the present time, 
now that the country is under British jurisdiction, the Para- 
mount Chief (Letsie), is guided, and to some extent controlled, 


in the administration of affairs by a Resident Commissioner, 
appointed by the Governor of the Cape Colony in his capacity 
of High Commissioner of the native territories of South Africa. 
Or the Commissioner may be sent out direct from Downing- 
street ; and in any case the Imperial Secretary of State for the 
Colonies has a veto upon the appointment, and is responsible 
for it. 

The Resident Commissioner alone has power to inflict 
capital punishment, and that only in accordance with the 
sentence of the Combined Court of Assistant Commissioners ; 
the chiefs having no longer the power of life and death in their 
hands. These latter deal witii all petty cases in their own 
Khothla, and with graver ones also if requested to do so by the 
Commissioner or his local representatives ; and all measures 
affecting the social welfare, or the usages and customs of the 
tribe, are usually submitted to the Paramount Chief for his 
approval before being promulged by the Government. New 
laws or regulations are not as a rule adopted before being con- 
sidered and approved by the great Pitso, or National Assembly 
of the people. This Pitso is convened by the Resident 
Commissioner, and is held annually at Maseru, the Government 
capital, or in the neighbourhood. All the great chiefs are cited 
to it, and every Mosuto can attend it if he pleases. Anyone may 
speak, but the common people rarely do so, leaving the oratory 
to their superiors. As a rule, they content themselves with 
endorsing or dissenting from the remarks made by the chiefs or 
their counsellors. 

This dual system of government, which may be characterised 
as Home Rule in its broadest form, rests mainly, under the 
present circumstances of the country, upon ' the personal 
character and ability of the Resident Commissioner, Sir Marshall 
Clarke, K.C.M.G., and his subordinate officials. These gentlemen 
have been called upon to undertake the task of keeping in order, 
through their own native chiefs and headmen, nearly a quarter of 


n million of savages, or, at any rate, people just emerging from 
barbarism ; and they have to do this without any force at their 
back, or authority at their disposal, beyond that which is 
•conveyed by the mere name of the Queen of England. They 
have to rule, as far as they can be said to rule at all, by moral 
force alone. That they have to some extent succeeded in this 
difficult and delicate task is a sure evidence of their integrity as 
well as their ability, since the native is quick enough to notice 
the least indication of anything crooked in policy or conduct, 
and appreciates above all things moral rectitude on the part of 
his European rulers. '* Is he a straight man ? " is the question 
asked at once by the native on hearing of the appointment of some 
new official. 

The revenue is derived from hut tax (ten shillings per 
annum for each hut), traders' licenses, and a Colonial subsidy 
not exceeding £20,000 per annum. The expenditure — always 
within the income — is devoted to the payment of the officials 
and those of the chiefs who act as magistrates, the native 
mounted police (150 in number), the making and repair of roads, 
^nd grants in aid of education. 

The system of land tenure is what may be broadly termed 
socialistic. The land belongs to the tribe as such, and individual 
ownership is not permitted. This prmciple is respected by the 
British Government, which holds the territory in trust for the 
people. Wardmasters appointed by the chiefs allot, from time 
io time, to each family patches of arable land sufficient for its 
support. This is usually done in the spring, before digging 
or ploughing has commenced ; and ordinarily a family retains 
its right to the same fields for many years in succession. 
Uncultivated land is public property, and is used for grazing 
purposes by the people generally. Lines of demarcation and 
delimitation are laid down between the districts of the greater 
chiefs, and these are subdivided into wards over which minor 
■chiefs and headmen are appointed with certain rights of their 


own, but in strict subordination to the chief of the whole dis- 
trict. The fields are unenclosed, hedges or fences between the 
gardens and corn lands of the different families being unknown. 
That the rights of each family are rigidly respected goes with- 
out saying. Infractions of these rights are of very rare 
occurrence, but when they do take place they are punished 
promptly and severely. No title deeds to any land whatever are 
granted either by the Government or the chiefs. Even ihe 
mission property at the various mission stations, as well as 
the Government offices and buildings, and the shops and houses 
of traders, are erected on land to which no legal claim of owner- 
ship can be made. The land is simply '' assigned " to certain 
individuals for specific uses by the authorities. A missionary, 
a trader, or any other European permitted to settle in the 
country is regarded as the absolute owner of any buildings 
erected by him ; he may sell them or remove them, but he 
possesses no legal right to the ground on which they are built. 
The very ground on which the mission churches are erected 
cannot be alienated from the tribe, though it is understood that, 
being devoted to the service of God, it will never be disturbed, or 
reclaimed for secular purposes. In the absence of legal title 
deeds to the land, the churches cannot of course be consecrated,, 
and they are therefore simply dedicated to Divine worship by an 
appropriate service authorised by the Bishop of the diocese, and 
usually performed by him. 

Certain portions of the pasture lands, especially of those in 
the valleys ot the Malutis, are marked out by the chiefs as 
winter pastures, and are preserved accordingly. Footpaths are, 
of course, free everywhere to all. The chiefs derive no revenue 
from the land, but their fields are larger than those of the 
common people. Their cattle, in which their wealth mainly 
consists, are distributed among various families, especially those 
of headmen, who herd them, and are responsible for them, taking 
the milk as a reward for their care and labour. 


It is obvious that such a system of land tenure is only fitted 
to a nation in its infancy, or to a pastoral and agricultural 
community in a thinly-populated country. Even in Basutoland 
there is scarcely room under this system for the increasing 
numbers of the people, and land and grazing disputes are very 
common. In olden days, before the tribe came under British 
jurisdiction, such disputes would be settled by the assagai, and 
the increase of population kept in this way within certain limits ; 
but this cannot, of course, be the case now. While this primi- 
tive and simple system of land tenure is hardly compatible either 
with the perfect fulfilment of the Divine command to '' replenish 
the earth and subdue it," * or with the natural and unchecked 
increase of the population ; it nevertheless prevents pauperism 
on the one hand, or the acquisition by any one individual of 
thousands of broad acres on the other. There are many poor 
men amongst the Basutos, for '' ye have the poor with you 
always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good." f But 
there are no paupers ; and the extremes of wealth and poverty 
vi^hich mark, more than ever in our own day, highly advanced 
and civilised communities do not exist in Basutoland. 

The common law of the Basutos, as of all the Bantu tribes, 
ias come down to them from a remote period of antiquity. Its 
details, as well as its leading principles, have been carefully 
preserved from generation to generation. All trials are held in 
public in the open Khothla, to which every full grown man has 
access, and hence the methods of procedure become known to all. 
Every man is a born orator, and pleads his own cause. Cases 
are always, if possible, decided according to precedent, and this 
again would help to stamp the traditions and usages of the tribe 
upon each member of it. Like the system of land tenure, the 
leading principles of their common law are adapted only to a 
people in its infancy. They are largely identical with those of 
the patriarchal dispensation of the Old Testament. The modern 

* Genesis i. 28. f St. Mark xiv. 7. 


Englishman sees every day in the Lesuto Old Testament scenes, 
and customs enacted before his eyes, and lives, so to speak,, 
in the atmosphere of the patriarchs of old. He finds that here 
the law holds the head of the family responsible for the conduct 
of its members, the village for that of its households, and the 
clan for the behaviour of each of its village communes. In- 
dividual rights, such as we have come to possess under the 
influence of matured Christian teaching, and as the result of it, 
are unknown to the Basutos. 

The occupations of the people are, in the present day, almost 
entirely agricultural or pastoral. There is now very little to be 
done in the way of hunting, nearly all the game having been 
killed out. The chiefs usually make up annual hunting parties 
in the Malutis, chiefly with the object of securing the eland ;. 
but as year by year goes by the hunters have to go further and 
further into the innermost recesses of the mountains in order to 
find any sport worthy of the name. 

From time to time numbers of the younger men leave their 
homes and go away to the Diamond Fields, or the Gold Fields, to 
w^ork in the mines for periods of six months or a year, hoping to 
save sufficient money out of their earnings wherewith to procure 
the much coveted rifle, or the still more coveted wife. It is to 
be feared that these poor fellows learn more of the vices of 
civilization than its virtues. They return to their homes with 
their wits sharpened, and their cunning developed, but also, in 
most instances, with constitutions enfeebled, and habits more 
depraved than ever. Those who go out thus to work are, for the 
most part, '' raw " heathens, but with them there will often be a 
sprinkling of Christian natives — usually those under Church 
censure, in fact, the off-scourings of the mission stations. 
These, on the principle of cornijytio optimi pessimi, will generally 
prove themselves to be leaders in all kinds of evil courses, 
becoming in time adepts in rascality and wickedness. Boasting 
of their Christianity, but carefully concealing the fact that they 


are out of communion, and under censure at the mission stations 
to which they belong, they bring discredit on the Christian 
name, and cause the finger of scorn to be pointed at the " School 
Kafir," as native Christians are usually called by the more 
irreligious among the colonists. 

Vast tracts of land are cultivated in the Lesuto. As a rule 
every valley is full of corn fields, mealies and Kafir-corn being 
much more largely grown than wheat. The two former^ 
especially the second, form the principal food of the people. As 
has been already observed the soil is very prolific, manure being 
never used; yet in good years it will literally produce "some 
thirty, some sixty, some an hundred " fold.* Inmost years large 
quantities of grain are sold to the traders in the country and 
sent by them to Kimberley, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, and the 
other principal towns of Griqualand West, the Transvaal, and 
the Free State. The field work was formerly almost entirely 
performed by the women, but since the introduction of 
Christianity into the country the men have gradually learnt to 
take their share in it ; and at the present time both men and 
women work hard in the fields during the ploughing and harvest 
seasons. The plough is largely superseding the native pick or 
mattock ; indeed, the young girls are already beginning to 
stipulate that the man who asks them in marriage — that is to 
say, who asks their father for them — should both possess 
a plough and know how to use it. They say that " a man who 
has not got a plough has no business to have a wife.'' 

The ploughing is always done with oxen, four being usually 
inspanned for the purpose. The fields of each chief are ploughed,, 
sowed, and weeded by his men, who render this service very 
willingly as an act of homage to their lord. He orders a 
*' letsema " — a ^' garden party," in the Sesuto and literal mean- 
ing of the term — and every able-bodied man responds cheerfully 
and at once to his summons. The next morning's dawn sees 

* St. Mark iv. 8. 


them all hurrying to the scene of action. It is a pretty sight at 
such times to watch, in the case of the greater and more 
influential chiefs, hundreds of ploughs going at once over the 
extensive unenclosed fields. The furrows, it is true, would 
hardly pass muster in England, but the work is done effectually 
and with a will. The first letsema of the season usually takes 
place in September, and in November or December a second 
is held, which is even a more interesting sight than the first. 
You may then see a thousand or fifteen hundred men all hoeing 
the lands together. They are divided into companies of a 
hundred and fifty or two hundred, and all of them keep perfect 
time with their hoes as they chant the quaint and expressive 
songs and calls to labour appropriate to the occasion, which have 
come down to them from generation to generation. 

The harvesting is a slower business, and is still done almost 
entirely by the women. The fields are not reaped as with us, 
the stalks of maize and millet not being cut, and no sickle being 
needed. The rich, full ears, or rather bunches, of millet are 
broken off with the hand^ and the cobs of maize are detached 
from the parent stalk in the same manner. All are taken 
home, and the grain is carefully rubbed out of its sheath, the 
smallest children even assisting in the work. The reader must 
remember that the millet and maize harvest takes place, as I have 
already said, at midwinter, the wheat harvest being at mid- 
summer, that is to say as early as possible in January. 

During the two months of the mid-winter harvest the women 
work very hard. A woman will leave her home a few minutes 
after dawn, carrying her infant on her back, and a large Seruto — 
a basin-shaped basket — on her head. She will trudge along 
bravely and patiently until she reaches her corn patch, at 
perhaps four or five or even seven or eight miles distance. In 
that corn patch she will work with scarcely any interval of rest 
until the long slanting rays of the declining sun warn her to 
return home. Then she piles her basket to the brim with maize 


cobs or bunches of millet, and with her Httle one still at her 
back cooing out in the prettiest and most engaging way its baby 
accents, she will plod diligently homeward. Arrived at her 
cabin she will at once, without a moment's intermission, com- 
mence the preparation of the family meal, having herself 
partaken of nothing but a cup of leting before starting for the 
harvest field, and a mouthful or two of bogobe during the whole 
of the day. 

The wheat is threshed out and winnowed on the threshing 
floor so familiar to every reader of the Old Testament, the grain 
being trodden out by horses or bullocks. The wheat almost 
always finds its way to the trader^ being in fact grown with that 
intention ; the Basuto3 not having yet learnt the art of making 
bread after the European fashion. The mabele required for the 
year's supply of the family is carefully stored away in huge, 
globular, almost air-tight grass baskets made for the purpose, the 
small mouths of which are covered with a flat stone carefully 
plastered round with clay. The grain intended for sale is usually 
conveyed to the trading station in enormous bullock skin bags 
dangling at the sides of some stout fat pack ox, which the owner 
never fails to ride on his return journey. 

The pastoral life of the Basutos is a very pleasant one. The 
herding of both cattle and horses falls, as we know, to the lot of 
the young men and boys. As to the men, they are '* veritable 
lords of creation," having for the greater part of the year little 
to do and plenty of time to do it in. Most of the older men 
spend their time mainly in the Khothla, listening to the cases 
before the court, gossiping, or simply squatting on the ground 
doing nothing. In the ploughing and sowing seasons all are 
busy. The time that used formerly to be spent in hunting or 
war is now devoted to the more prosaic and peaceful pursuits of 
improving their dwellings and planting fruit trees. Every man 
is in his way a tanner and a tailor, and here and there one may 
find a smith. But the handsome karosses so common in days 



gone by are now only rarely seen. There is very little left to 
dress besides bullock skins and goat skins. The neatest of 
European furriers could barely hold their own against the 
Basutos and Bechuanas in the dressing of the skins of wild 
animals, and the preparation of those robes of fur so justly and 
universally admired by all who have seen them. These lovely 
and graceful furs are beautifully stitched together with sinews 
simply by the aid of a small awl. The men are still very fond of 
this sort of work. The dressing is performed by a number of 
them working together in groups, all of them chattering away 
like so many parrots until the skin becomes in their hands as 
supple as a gloves. 

Many of the women, when not engaged in their domestic 
duties or in their fields and gardens, occupy their time in 
making pottery. They mould drinking and other vessels of clay 
with the hand, and then bake them on a slow fire of disu, the 
ordinary fuel of the country. Some of these vessels are of 
really graceful shape and design, and are much sought after by 
the Europeans in the country. 

At the age of seventeen or eighteen the youths undergo the 
rite of circumcision. This ceremony is regarded by them as the 
entrance into the rights and privileges of manhood. Among 
the Kafir tribes of the coast there is little or nothing that is 
secret about the rite, nor does it seem in any way to be very 
objectionable. The Zulus abolished it among themselves during 
the reign of Chaka, and at his command. The Basutos cling 
to it still with great tenacity. " The youths," says Mr. Theal,* 
** are formed into guilds or lodges with passwords. The members 
of these lodges are bound never to give evidence against one 
another. The rites of initiation are kept profoundly secret, but 
certain horrible customs performed on some of these occasions 
have become known. One of these customs is that of infusing 

* Hist. Boerji. p. 17. 


courage, intelligence, and other qualities. Whenever an enemy 
who has acted bravely is killed, his liver, which is considere<i 
the seat of valoar, his ears, which are considered the seat of 
intelligence, the skin of his forehead, which is considered the 
seat of perseverance, and other members, each of which is 
supposed to be the seat of some desirable quality, are cut from 
his body and baked to cinders. The ashes are carefully pre- 
served in the horn of a bull, and during the circumcision 
ceremonies are mixed with other ingredients into a kind of paste 
and administered by the tribal priest to the youths, the idea 
being that the virtues which they represent are communicated 
to those who swallow them. This practice, together with that 
of using other parts of the remains of their enemies for 
bewitching purposes, accounts for the mutilation of the bodies 
of those who fall into their hands in war, a practice which has 
more then once infuriated white men whose friends have been 
thus treated, and caused them to commit deeds from which they 
would otherwise have shrunk." *' The corresponding ceremony 
through which young females pass," says the same writer, '' as 
practised by the coast tribes, might be deemed the most 
degrading rite that human beings have ever been subject to, if 
it were not known that among the mountain tribes it is even 
more vile. All that the most depraved imagination can devise 
to rouse the lowest passions of the young females is here 
practised. A description is impossible." 

These are very sweeping assertions, and it is possible that 
they may be too highly coloured. I sincerely trust that this 
may be the case, though from my own experience of the country 
I fear that they are, in the main at least, only too true. The 
recipients of these rites generally remain in the lodges for about 
three months, during which time the discipline which the young 
men undergo is so severe that they sometimes die under it. 
Anyone who has heard their bowlings at night in the awful 
solitudes of the Malutis, echoing and reverberating from glen to 


glen and crag to crag, like the waitings of lost souls, will hardly 
ever think of them without a shudder. The girls, during the 
time of their sojourn in the lodge, are daubed from head to foot 
wdth white clay as a sign of their uncleanness, and wear a 
curious veil of reeds over their eyes. They may be encountered 
from time to time in small bands, marching along in solemn 
procession near the roadsides, uttering as they go a series of 
doleful sounds in a minor key. Being almost naked, the sight 
of these poor creatures thus daubed and plastered is a ghastly 
and repulsive one. They look like so many moving spectres, 
calculated to frighten an Englishwoman out of her wits. This 
circumcision ceremony may be characterised as the initiatory rite 
or Sacrament of heathenism, and Christian youths and maidens 
are forbidden to take part in it. 

Marriage among the Basutos is usually a mere affair of con- 
venience. The parents or guardians of the young people arrange 
it with little or no regard to the feelings of the young people 
themselves. There is a wedding feast, but no religious ceremony 
— indeed no ceremony at all worthy of the name. The binding 
force of the marital contract, as far as it may be said to be a 
marital contract and to possess any force at all, depends upon 
the transfer, or more plainly, payment of a stipulated number 
of cattle to the father or guardian of the bride. This secures to 
the girl the rights and privileges, such as they are, of a wife. 
The wife is the mere serf of her husband, but he cannot sell her, 
nor has he a right to maim or maltreat her. The payment of 
the cattle is regarded as a guarantee against ill-treatment ; for 
should the husband ill-use her she may return to her father or 
guardian, and her husband would lose both his wife and his 
cattle. The chief objection to this system of marriage is that it 
permits a man to give his daughter in marriage to the highest 
bidder for her, without any necessary reference to her inclina- 
tions. Human nature being what it is, the result is, of course, 
in most cases lamentable ; the marital tie is often utterly 


disregarded, and the purity of domestic life sapped to its 

But the crowning social evil of the Basutos is polygamy, the 
chiefs being the greatest transgressors in this respect because 
of their superior wealth. No one who has lived for any length 
of time in Basutoland can be insensible to the gigantic evils 
which polygamy entails. It is the parent of jealousies, heart- 
burnings, dissensions, murders, and wars. The half brothers of 
a family are taught by their mothers to hate each other from 
their very infancy ; and should they be the sons of a chief there 
is nearly always a war of succession upon the death of the 
father. War thins out the male population, thus causing the 
female to preponderate more than ever, and this disproportion leads 
again inevitably to further polygamy. And so the ball keeps 
rolling on. In fact, among the many devices of Satan for the 
degradation of the human race, I know of none more seductive, 
and in the end more potent, than the evil of which we are 
speaking. The possession of many wives brings to the possessor 
of them great wealth and influence. Each wife or concubine has 
her own hut, works in the fields allotted to her, and supports 
her own establishment, the husband reaping as he chooses the 
fruits of her labours. When a chief has many wives and concu- 
bines he sometimes bestows some of them either permanently or 
for a time upon a needy friend, or upon the hangers on and 
parasites of the Khothla, who are too idle or too poor to procure 
a wife for themselves. Divorces are of frequent occurrence, 
especially among the ruling caste. In fact the whole subject — 
like the two preceding ones — is so unsavoury that we will dwell 
no longer upon it. 

The houses of the Basutos are built of sods, well cemented 
together with clay ; the walls being about five feet high, and the 
roof of poles thatched with reeds and grass. Most of these huts 
are round in shape, but oblong structures are beginning, on 
account of their greater convenience, to make their appearance 


everywhere, especially among the Christian converts. They are 
entered by one small aperture, sometimes not more than two feet 
in height, through which one has to wriggle one's way like a 
snake in order to get inside. Chimney there is none, the cooking 
being done outside in the open air. These huts are used only 
for sleeping purposes or in times of sickness or in bad weather, 
open air life being the one most natural to the native. 
Surrounding the hut and protecting it from the wind, there is 
usually a high screen of reeds, substantial, and in its way even 
handsome ; and within the courtyard of this screen the cooking 
is done. Here also in the hot afternoons of summer men, 
women, children and dogs all lie huddled together in sleep. The 
doorways of the huts almost always face east or north-east, so as 
to catch the first rays of the rising sun. The poorer families 
have only one hut, the more well to do two, or perhaps even a 
third, which latter is usually reserved for visitors. 

The villages of the people — some large, some small — are 
spread all over the country ; and one may constantly find good- 
sized villages perched up on the ledges running out from the 
spurs of the Malutis, or even built along the mountain slopes. 
There are barely half-a-dozen villages in the whole country 
which contain a settled and resident population of over a 
thousand souls ; and in the absence of anything whatever in the 
way of sanitary arrangements, this dispersion of the people all 
over the land in small clusters of huts is a great blessing, con- 
tributing as it does to keep the whole population healthy. 

I have said that the native prizes his cattle above all things. 
And, indeed, it is no wonder, for they not only work for him, 
but provide him with food and clothing. Animal food he rarely 
eats, but milk enters largely into his daily diet. It is, however, 
seldom used when fresh ; but sour, and especially when fer- 
mented in the form of curds, it is in universal request, and 
certainly there are very few things more delicious than a dish of 
mafi. Delicately white in colour and sub- acid in taste, it is 


most grateful to the palate as well as nutritious to the system 
on a hot summer day. 

The women are everywhere the cooks ; the men are mere 
clumsy, unclean bunglers in the preparation of food. The 
Basutos, however, do not excel in the culinary art. Their 
dishes are few and simple, the pot being in universal recogni- 
tion to the exclusion of the gridiron or the frying-pan. They 
boil nearly everything, and a London or Parisian epicure would 
fare badly at their hands. Porridge, made either of mabele or 
mealies, and thickened and flavoured with sour milk, mafi, or 
herbs, constitutes the usual daily food of the people. They 
make a peculiar kind of bread (bogobe), a pasty, insipid, un- 
appetising mess, resembling a cannon ball in size and form. 
Europeans rarely, if ever, take to it kindly. Of fermented 
drinks there are two kinds — one, a light, refreshing beverage of 
a sub-acid fxavour called leting ; the other a much stronger and 
highly intoxicating liquor — joala, or native ^' beer," as the whites 
term it, which, when newly made and very pungent, is almost 
maddening in its effects. Both these are prepared from fermented 
mabele. During the summer and autumn, vegetables, especially 
gourds and pumpkins, enter largely into the daily diet ; while 
the young green maize, boiled and served with melted butter, is 
esteemed for its delicacy not only by natives, but by everyone. 
Africanders regard " green mealies '' as a dish fit to put before a 
king ; and certainly it is a delicious food, and as nourishing 
and wholesome as it is delicious. 

In the matter of clothing the coloured blanket or rug is 
becoming universal throughout the country. It has taken the 
place of the kaross, now so Seldom obtainable. Dressed bullock 
skins are worn sometimes for the sake of warmth in the depth of 
winter, especially by the men. When prepared, shaped and 
finished, and worn according to native fashion, they are by 
no means so ungraceful in appearance as one would imagine. 
Indeed, I remember only last winter one of our Christian con- 


verts — old Simeone Dicliakana — coming into church one Sunday 
morning clad in a deep chocolate-coloured bullock skin cloak, 
which looked exactly like a cope, clasp, and all complete ! The 
old man might have passed for an Abyssinian ecclesiastic of high 
rank, so venerable and dignified did he look. Sheep skins are 
constantly worn by the herd boys as cloaks, and in winter the 
lads make themselves shoes of the same material, the wool being 
inside for the sake of warmth. The women and girls use beads 
very largely as ornaments. They make them into necklaces and 
armlets with charming taste, the bead- work of the Zulu girls 
being [in its way really beautiful. Bangles of fine copper or 
brass wire, deftly interwoven, are largely affected both by men 
and women. A desire for finery of European make and pattern 
is greatly on the increase, the shops of the traders being now 
full of *' costumes '' of the most gaudy and extravagant types 
direct from London ; and these are eagerly bought up by the 
wives and daughters of the more well-to-do members of the 
community. In vain does the missionary set his face against, 
and oppose this extravagance and love of display. The tide of 
fashion is too strong for him, and he has to content himself with 
the reflection that, objectionable as this finery is, it is at any 
rate not worse than the tattooing and the daubing with red 
clay and pig fat which are still universally in use among all but 
a fraction of the people. 

All natives are fond of dancing, most of them passionately so, 
and the Basutos are not behind in this matter. Almost any 
pretext will suffice for a '' mokete " — a feast — which, of course, 
usually ends with a dance. Sometimes, when there is a great 
*' beer-drinking " going on at a heathen village, the dance which 
accompanies it terminates in an orgie. The dancers of both 
sexes become thoroughly intoxicated, and then ensues a scene of 
bestial revelry, such as can hardly be imagined, much less 
described. Yet, intoxicated as they are, many of the dancers 
will dance on until they drop from sheer exhaustion. ISiow and 


then some of them have been known hterally to drop down dead. 
But, happily, all the dances are not of this description, though it 
is doubtful whether the best of them are such as a modest 
Christian youth or maiden ought to take part in. The Zulus 
dance in their way exquisitely, with much more perfect time and 
grace than the Basutos ; but the postures and gestures employed 
are, it is to be feared, equally licentious in both cases. 

The national war dances are remarkable spectacles, producing 
nothing less than a thrilling effect upon the spectator, whether he 
be black or white. Some two thousand warriors or more, plumed, 
and in their war trappings, and armed to the teeth with the 
weapons of their tribe, form themselves into a circle, and com- 
mence a weird, unearthly chant in a minor key. This is 
rendered with perfect rhythm and intense feeling. Then follows 
a recitative, when suddenly some well-known brave will spring 
with what seems to be a single bound into the centre of the 
circle, stab the earth with his assagai, leap frantically into the 
air, then stab the earth again, uttering as he does so a loud kiss, 
which is taken up by the thousand throats as one overwhelming, 
blood-curdling slizz again and again repeated. This is supposed 
to represent the annihilation of all enemies of the tribe by the 
repeated stabs of the assagai, and is accompanied by the 
stamping of each naked, horny foot upon the groimd by a simul- 
taneous movement which seems to make the very earth around 
tremble. Then ensues a deafening babel of sounds and 
clattering of tongues, such as no words can describe, each and 
every man in the vast circle yelling the direst threats, 
anathemas, and imprecations against the enemy ; and then 
again the warrior in the centre brings his foot to the ground, 
stabbing the earth and breathing out, as only a native can, his 
deep-chested resonant hiss, which is again immediately taken up 
by the multitude as before. The number of stabs he inflicts 
upon the earth shows the number of enemies he has killed ; and 
when he has ended the recital of his heroic deeds, the refrain in 


the minor key is taken up and repeated again by the whole circle 
with the most perfect solemnity, and continued until a second 
warrior leaps into the midst of the throng, and recounts his heroic 
deeds on the battlefield with the same gestures as the first. A 
third succeeds, then a fourth, and so on, until, on great 
occasions, the whole regiment or regiments will be so wrought 
upon by the intensity of their feelings that they will continue 
the dance for hours and hours together ; the lugubrious, doleful 
refrain of their song, and the thud of their stamping feet being 
heard to a great distance. These war dances are held before 
going to battle, and with still greater enthusiasm and intensity 
of feeling after a victory. 

The Basutos have three musical instruments, the drum, the 
lesiba, and the tomo. The first of these, which produces a 
hideous and deafening noise, is made by simply stretching a 
piece of dried sheep skin to its utmost tension over an earthen- 
ware or wooden pot. It is often accompanied by the second, the 
lesiba, a curious little instrument made by stretching a string like 
that of a violin along a short piece of slightly curved bamboo. 
At one end of the string a quill is placed, slit in two lengthwise, 
and considerably flattened. The instrument is usually played 
by a boy, who draws with his lips a series of sharp, shrill, nasal 
sounds from the vibrating string and quill, which would be 
nothing less than an utter terror to anyone possessed of 
*' nerves.' Sometimes the women and girls will dance to these 
instruments, keeping time by singing and clapping their hands. 
On such occasions one of the females, generally a wizened old 
hag Vv'ith a stick in her hand, acts as conductress and mistress of 
the ceremonies ; and the women with their contortions, their 
horrible grimaces, their hand clappings, their shrill piercing 
voices, and the flapping to and fro of their short stiff leather 
petticoats look like so many witches — an African rendering of 
the well-known scene in " Macbeth." 

The tomo (thomo) is something like the lesiba, but larger 


and more curved. It has no quill, but the string is fastened 
upon a bamboo attached to a calabash with a hole in it. The 
performer holds it by one end in his left hand, leaving his 
thumb and fore-finger free to touch the string. In his right 
hand he holds a thin stick, with which he strikes the string from 
time to time. The sound, swelling as it passes through the 
calabash, can be varied and raised higher or lower by touching 
or striking the string at different heights. The tomo is thus a 
primitive guitar ; and as human nature is essentially the same 
everywhere, this instrument is a favourite one with the young 
men. They will spend hours at a time over it, and grow to be 
hitensely fond of it. When they have mastered it, they are never 
weary of playing it. Above all they will, we may be sure, seek 
opportunities to "make it sing " to some gentle though dusky 
damsel the same song of love, ever old yet ever new, which is 
not unknown, though rendered it may be with sweeter strains, 
and a more polished diction, to their more favoured relatives in 
distant Europe. 



Eeligious and Moral Ideas of the Basutos — Superstitions — Witchcraft- 
Diviners and Rain Doctors — Siboko — Moshesh and the French Protestant 
Missionaries — Results of their Mission — The Roman Catholic Mission — 
Room for more Christian Workers — Moshesh and Bishop Gray — Basutoland 
attached to the Diocese of Bloemf on tein— Tentative Efforts — Resolution of 
Bishop Webb to carry out Moshesh's Wish. 

The Bantu races have no buildings dedicated to religious wor- 
ship, and no public rites or ceremxonies. The traveller may pass 
through all the various territories inhabited by them without 
seeing the slightest indication of any religious belief or worship. 


The natives of Central Africa have at least a fetish ; these have 
none. No doubt it was this singular spectacle of a people 
without any apparent religious belief and any object of supreme 
worship which made the Arabs give them centuries ago, in 
their dealings with the Coast Tribes, the name of Kafirs or 
Infidels — a name which has clung to them ever since. Yet the 
Bantu peoples are not destitute of religious or moral ideas ; and 
though it is true that they ha\e no temples or structures of a,ny 
kind dedicated to religious uses, they have, nevertheless, objects 
of reverence and supreme worship. They worship the spirits of 
their ancestors. They have " exchanged the truth of God for a 
lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the 
Creator." ^ 

The Basutos, in common with the other Bantu tribes, believe 
that the spirits of their ancestors interfere in their daily affairs, 
and influence their destiny. Accordingly they endeavour to 
worship and propitiate them with prayers, incantations, and 
sacrifices. Such worship as they render to these departed spirits 
is based upon fear ; love does not enter into it. Some of them 
may perhaps have a dim idea of the existence of a supreme, all- 
powerful Being ; but if so. He is for practical purposes an 
abstraction to them. They do not regard Him as interesting 
Himself in their affairs, nor do they imagine that they stand in 
any direct personal relationship to Him. What religious 
instincts they possess have become so perverted that it is 
doubtful whether it can be said with truth that they are '' a 
power which makes for righteousness." 

But this is a large subject as well as a deeply interesting 
one, about which a whole volume might be written. We can 
but barely glance at it here. 

M. Arbousset, one of the first French Protestant missionaries 
to the Basutos, has recorded in graphic language a touching 

* Romans i. 25. Rev. Version. 


conversation which he had with a Mosuto shortly after his 
arrival in the country.* Sekesa, the Mosuto in question, said to 
him one day : — 

'' Your tidings are what I want ; what I was seeking before I 
knew you, as you shall hear and judge for yourselves. Twelve 
years ago I went to feed my flocks. The weather was hazy. I 
sat down upon a rock and asked myself sorrowful questions ; yes, 
sorrowful, because I was unable to answer them. 

*' Who has touched the stars with his hands? On what 
pillars do they rest ? I asked myself. 

'' The waters are never weary : they know no other law than 
to flow, without ceasing, from morning till night, and from night 
iiill morning ; but where do they stop ? and who makes them 
flow thus ? 

" The clouds also come and go, and burst in water over the 
earth. Whence come they ? Who sends them ? The diviners 
certainly do not give us rain, for how could they do it ? and why 
do I not see them with my own eyes, when they go up to 
Jieaven to fetch it ? 

"I cannot see the wind, but what is it? Who brings it, 
makes it blow, and roar, and terrify us ? 

''Do I know how the corn sprouts? Yesterday there was 
liot a blade in my field ; to-day I returned to the field and found 
some. Who can have given to the earth the wisdom and the 
power to produce it ? " 

" Then I buried my face in both my hands." 

Doubtless there have been at all times many such seekers 
after truth among these people, and 1 suppose that every 
missionary must have met with cases similar to the one just 
recorded. Let us thank God that their yearnings have been 
answered, and that the true light of the Gospel of Christ now 

* Quoted in Casalis, The Basutos, p. 239. An interesting volume, but 
one dealing with a state of things that has largely passed away. 


shines upon these souls who have so long dwelt '' in darkness 
and the shadow of death." Not of course that no one glimmer 
of light had ever before reached them. Sitting there in that 
shadow of death, Conscience was nevertheless present within 
them. Go to the most ignorant and debased heathen man in 
the deepest recesses of the Drakensbergen, and ask him : '' Is it 
right to steal, to murder, or to he ? " and he will at once answer 
you '' No " ; though perhaps he might not be able to tell you 

The superstitions of the Basutos are almost innumerable, 
and they are firm believers in the efficacy of charms, spells, and 
amulets. They will fasten about their persons the most repul- 
sive, ridiculous, and filthy objects, in order to escape from some 
danger, real or imaginary, or be cured of some ailment, or obtain 
some '' stroke of good luck." In fact, they seem to have a 
remedy for every imaginable evil. But these superstitions are 
of little moment compared with the far more serious one of 

**The belief in witchcraft is to this day the cause of a terrible 
amount of suffering among the tribes that are independent. All 
events that cannot be readily comprehended — sickness in man, 
murrain in cattle, blight in crops, even casual accidents — are by 
them attributed to the agency of wizards and witches, and not 
the slightest compassion is felt for any unfortunate wretch whom 
the recognised witch-finder of the community points out as 
guilty. Confiscation of property, torture, death, are the penalties 
of being charged with this ideal offence. It is believed that one 
man can bewitch another by means of any such thing as a few 
hairs from his head, a clipping of a finger-nail, a piece of clothing, 
or, indeed, anything whatever that belongs to him, or can be 
brought into contact with him, or can be concealed in or about 
his hut. Occasional cases of real poisoning undoubtedly occur, 
and each such case is additional proof to them that their belief is 
correct." ''' 

* Theal, Hist. Boers, p. 9. 


It is pleasant to be able to say that these words do not apply, 
without at least some qualification, to the Lesuto of the present 
day, now that it has become in some sense a portion of the 
British Empire. But even now cases of " smelling out "do at 
times occur at the dictation of the chiefs — or at any rate with 
their connivance — though such doings are for obvious reasons 
kept as quiet as possible. Still there is reason to hope that the 
power of the diviners and witch doctors is, slowly it may be, but 
surely on the decline, though I regret to say that the rain- 
makers still flourish, and that, too, under the patronage of the 
chiefs. A well established and highly reputed rain maker in 
good practice will often receive during droughty seasons five, six, 
or even ten fat bullocks at a time for his incantations. These 
are generally muttered over a venerable and greasy pot, 
containing a decoction of herbs and a mixture of filthy and dis- 
gusting substances all boiled up together — a number of charms 
being cast in during the process. Even intelligent chiefs like 
Jonathan Molapo will sometimes patronise and pay these 
impostors, so great is the force of habit and superstition com- 

One superstition, harmless compared with others, is the 
veneration in which the Basutos hold the crocodile. Each of 
the Bantu tribes has its own Siboko, or object of reverence, 
which in former days it was said to da7ice to, though not actually 
worship. The Siboko, or, as we should say, the crest of the 
Basutos, and of some other tribes also, is the kiiena, or crocodile, 
formerly found in great numbers in the rivers of Basutoland, but 
now almost, if not entirely, extinct there. The Basutos called 
themselves the Bakuena, or people of the crocodile, and they are 
still proud of the title. It is still the custom to address them 
by this name at public meetings, or when greeting a number of 
them together at their villages or in the fields. Other branches 
of the Bantu took the lion (tau) for their Siboko, like the 
Bataung ; some are Baphuti, those of the blue antelope ; some 


Batlaping, those of the fish ; or Bathlou, those of the elephant. 
They venerated these creatures, and endeavoured to preserve 
them from harm. To the present generation of Basutos the 
crocodile is little more than a name. Occasionally a skin of this 
reptile finds its way into the country and is eagerly bought up 
by the '^ medicine men," cut into fragments, and used as a 
charm against accident or disease. 

In common with the Bechuanas, the Basutos have a curious 
superstition about thunder and lightning. They believe that 
both the thunder and the lightning are caused by a bird ! A 
colossal bird with plumage as of shining silver comes out of the 
unknown, and poises itself above the dense, dark, lowering 
clouds. It flaps its wings and commands the clouds to burst. 
The sheen of its silver plumage lights up the sky in dazzling 
streams of light. It sweeps onward, and the motion of its pinions 
produces the ihunder which man hears reverberating through the 
mountains or pealing over the plains. Then, in a moment, the 
clouds are rent asunder, and pour the fulness of their treasures 
upon the earth. 

The year 1833 was a bright one for Basutoland, for it was in 
that year that Christian missionaries first found their way into 
the country. Moshesh had long known of the existence of white 
men, and had even made the acquaintance of a small party of 
them — Boers from the Cape Colony on a hunting expedition — 
some fourteen or fifteen years before. As time went on he 
heard more of them, and was naturally impressed with their 
superior knowledge and resources. One day a visitor — a half- 
caste Hottentot from the West — who had often been brought 
into contact with Christian missionaries, told the chief that 
some of these teachers had lately arrived north of the Orange 
river. They were, he said, white wizards who were wonderfully 
wise and knew the secrets of the universe ; and he advised the 
chief to|invite them into his country. Moshesh caught eagerly at 
the idea. He was anxious above all things to consolidate his 


newly-acquired power, and no doubt thought that these white 
teachers would be of use to him in carrying out his darling 
scheme of welding together the fragments of the mountain 
tribes into one strong, united people. He accordingly sent to 
Phillippolis, a station of the London Missionary Society far to 
the west among the Griquas, to invite these new teachers into 
his country. Two missionaries, M. Casalis and M. Arbousset, 
together with an artisan, M. Gosselin, attached to the mission, at 
once responded to the summons. All three were Frenchmen, 
members of the French Protestant Church, and had been sent to 
South Africa by the Paris Evangelical Mission with the object of 
evangelising the heathen tribes north of the Orange. All three 
were men of ability, as well as earnestness and piety, and they 
left an abiding mark for good in the district in which 
they settled. They were soon joined by other like- 
minded men, who established mission stations, with the 
-consent of the chief, in several parts of the country, 
especially in the centre and the south. Their efforts 
have been largely blessed, and at the present time this French 
Protestant Mission has some twelve or thirteen stations with a 
number of out stations attached to them. At Morija, their 
principal centre of work, several admirably conducted educational 
hastitutions have been established, chiefly through the zeal and 
ability of M. Mabille, the missionary of the station ; and there 
is in addition a printing establishment, which has been 
a powerful auxiliary to the work of the mission, 
Moshesh throughout his long career was faithful to 
his word : he promised to protect the missionaries, and he 
consistently fulfilled his promise. He gave them lands on 
which to settle, and insisted upon their being treated with 
respect by the people ; and this friendship and protection he 
accorded not only to the French Protestants but to all Christian 
missionaries with whom he was brought into contact. It was, 
I suppose, inevitable, though the fact is to be regretted, that 



these first missionaries, good and devoted men as they were^ 
should become involved in the politics of the country in which 
they settled. That they acted for the best no one can doubt, but 
as time went on they became more and more identified in the 
eyes of the surrounding peoples, both black and white, with the 
schemes and plans of Moshesh, until, rightly or wrongly, they 
came to be regarded by the growing European population of the 
Orange Free State as the political agents of the chief. During 
the Basuto-Boer war they were expelled from the country on that 
ground by the victorious Free State forces, who, strong Protest- 
ants as they were, and Presbyterian in creed like the missionaries, 
nevertheless did not molest the Roman Catholic Mission, no- 
charge of political partisanship or interference having been 
brought against it. 

The Roman Catholic missionaries settled in the Lesuto in or 
about the year 1862, with the approbation of Moshesh. These 
were also Frenchmen, and members of a religious order. They 
came with a Bishop, Mgr. Allard, at their head, and accompanied 
by a strong contingent of nuns. The clergy and lay brothers of 
this mission are all ** Oblates of Mary Immaculate," the sisters 
being nuns of the order of the ** Visitation of the Blessed Virgin.'*^ 
They settled in a lovely spot — a '* hoek," or recess in the hills — 
not far from Thaba Bosigo, which has become their headquarters ► 
They likewise have large institutions, educational and industrial,, 
which are not less admirably conducted than those of their 
Protestant brethren. The station is now known to Europeans 
by the name of Roma, though the Roman Catholic converts 
call it the ''Motse oa Ma- Jesu " — the town of the mother of 
Jesus. Other stations have since been founded elsewhere in the 
country, and at the present time the Roman Catholic missionaries 
are making further efforts to extend their sphere of labour. They 
have made many converts, and have considerable influence in 
the neighbourhood of Roma ; but, considering the staff of 
workers, both male and female, they have had and still have at 


their disposal, their success has not been, as far as man can 
judge, as great as that of the other Christian bodies in the 

In the presence of such an overwhelming mass of debasing 
heathenism as exists in the Lesuto, any Christian agency is wel- 
come. Better, a thousand times better, that the Basntos should 
be brought to the knowledge of the Redeemer in any way — 
whether by the agency of the most ultramontane Eomanism, or 
by fche efforts of the most extreme partisans of Calvinism — than 
that they should be suffered to remain a prey to the snares and 
delusions of wizards and rain doctors, without Christ, and with- 
out the knowledge of God. 

But, though the Roman and the Presbyterian missionaries 
have done much, there is yet more, far more, to be done. 
Basutoland is still emphatically a heathen country, as the subse- 
quent pages of this narrative will help to show. Not a single 
chief of the front rank is a Christian. All the great chiefs are 
either heathen or French Protestant converts, who, after a short 
profession of Christianity, have relapsed into their old habits and 
superstitions. Of chiefs of the second rank I know of only one 
in the whole country who is a Christian. This is Nathanaele 
Makotoko, with whom the reader is already acquainted ; and he, 
amid evil report and good report, and the severest trials and 
temptations, has continued steadfast and faithful to his Lord and 

Two things more than any others have contributed to keep 
the chiefs heathen, or to tempt them back into heathenism. 
These are the *' lust of the flesh," and the '' pride of life." The 
first of these, in the shape of unlimited polygamy, has been, and 
is still, a most potent influence for evil ; the second, the fear of 
loss of chieftainship or power, has been hardly less baleful in its 
effects. But few of the chiefs have at any time embraced the 
teaching of Jesus Christ, and most of these few have lacked force 
of character. In the hour of trial they have been carried away 


by the stream of passion, or have yielded to the fears inspired by 
the warnings and threats of their heathen counsellors. A young 
chief is told that he must choose between Christ and his chief- 
tainship. The old men declare plainly that if he follows this 
new teaching he is lost. His people will regard him as a traitor, 
or at least as a coward dominated by the fear of the white man's 
God. The spirits of his ancestors, of whose brave deeds he has 
so often heard, but of whom he has proved himself unworthy, 
will wreak their vengeance upon him, and his people will desert 
him. He is told to make his choice, and he makes it. Alas ! he 
does not choose Christ and His Cross. He cannot bring himself 
to *' suffer," if need be, '^ affliction with the people of God," 
rather than to " enjoy the iDleasures of sin for a season." ''' On 
the contrary, he yields to the same alluring voice that said of old : 
•"' All this will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me." f 

Assuredly there is room, ample room, in Basutoland for all the 
Christian energy and influence that can be brought to bear upon it ; 
whether Catholic or Protestant , Anglican, Eoman, or Presbyterian. 

But what has the English Church done for the evangelisa- 
tion of the Basutos ? Has it done anything ? Let us see. 

It was in the year 1850 that Moshesh first heard of the 
English Church. In that year the Bishop of Capetown, Dr. 
Gray, the lion-hearted founder of the Church in South Africa, 
made his first great visitation journey through the Cape Colony, 
the Orange River Sovereignty, Natal, and Kaffraria. Three 
years before he had been consecrated to the see of Capetown, his 
vast diocese embracing all the territories I have named. While in 
the Sovereignty he received an invitation from the Chief of the 
Mountain to visit him at his stronghold at Thaba Bosigo, but 
^^as unable, from want of time, to accede to the Chief's wish. 
Moshesh had heard that the Bishop was a man of exalted 
position among the '' Baruti " I — that he was, in fact, the head 

* Hebrews xi. 25. f S. Matthews iv. 9. 

J Teachers : the name usually given by the Basutos to Christian missionaries. 


of them ; and had been sent to South Africa, not only by the 
chief Baruti of England, but also by Queen Victoria, to teach 
her subjects in the countries subject to her sway. He was then, 
with his people, under the protectorate of the Queen ; and when 
he heard that a chief minister of '' the Queen's Church " was 
actually near his borders, his curiosity was awakened, and he 
desired to see the " Bishopo " for himself. Failing to do this, he 
sent messages to the Bishop inviting, nay urging, him to send 
Christian teachers of " the Church of the Queen of England " to 
his people. He spoke gratefully of the French Protestant 
missionaries, the only ones then in the country, and of their 
efforts on behalf of his subjects ; but they could only reach a few 
of the people, and he was anxious to have in addition English 
teachers, especially as he regarded himself as the child of the 
Queen. He offered to give the clergy sent by the Bishop a warm 
welcome, protection, and land on which to settle. Moreover, the 
Episcopal constitution of the Church commended itself to his 
mind. He now, for the first time, became aware of the 
existence of a Church with ** chiefs" among the Baruti; all 
being under the Supreme Chief and King of all, Jesus Christ our 
Lord. The Bishop was unable to respond to his wishes. 
Basutoland was too remote, and the wants of the Cape Colony 
and Natal were too pressing to allow a mission to the Basutos to 
be even thought of. But he did what he could. He told the 
chief that he would bear his application in mind, and that some 
time in the future — he hoped in the near future — he might be 
able to send some of his missionary clergy into the country. He 
could not do so now, but he would endeavour to do so as soon as 
he had men to spare for the purpose. The promise was fulfilled 
long afterwards, but Moshesh did not live to see it. Meanw^iile, 
the Chief sent two of his sons down to Capetown to be educated 
at the Church's native training institution, recently established at 
Zonnebloem by the efforts of the Bishop, seconded by those of 
Sir George Grey, the Governor of the Cape Colony. One of 


these young men made great progress at the school, and became 
a convert to the faith of Christ. After his baptism he desired to 
become a missionary to his own people, and was accordingly 
sent to England to be prepared for the sacred ministry at 
S. Augustine's College, Canterbury. But his wish was not to 
be fulfilled. After a short residence in England he died at 
S. Augustine's, and thus the hope of evangelising the Basutos 
through his efforts was lost. 

But the Bishop kept his promise in mind, and upon the 
foundation of the see of Bloemfontein in 1863 (then called the 
Missionary Bishopric of the Orange Free State), Basutoland was 
included in that diocese ; and the first incumbent of the see was 
urged by the Bishop (now become the Metropolitan of South 
Africa), to establish a mission in the country at the earliest 
opportunity. His lordship was anxious to accede to the Metro- 
politan's request, and paid a visit to the Chief of the Mountain 
at Thaba Bosigo soon after his arrival in his diocese. Moshesh 
received him with the utmost cordiality, asked him to send him 
*' teachers," and offered to give them land in any part of his 
territory in which they might wish to work. '' Here is my 
country," he said; " it lies before you: choose out your own 
ground, and I will give it you, and gladly welcome the teachers 
you may be able to send." 

But the Bishop had neither men nor means at his disposal 
for the task. The few clergy he had brought with him were 
imperatively needed for the scattered European members of the 
Church in the Orange Free State. Moreover, war had just been 
declared between the Free State Government and the Basutos, 
and a mission to the latter under such circumstances, having 
its "chief" and its ** headquarters " at Bloemfontein, the 
capital of the Free State, would be almost, if not quite, an 
impossibility. Still the Bishop bore this great need in mind, 
and a few years afterwards, as soon as peace was restored, he 
established a '' missionary brotherhood " under the Kev. Canon 


Beckett, at Modder Poort, a farm in the '* conquered territory/^ 
near the borders of Basutoland. It was hoped that this society 
might grow in numbers, and be able ere long to redeem the 
promises made to Moshesh. But the community did not 
increase, and the few members or associates of it had more than 
enough to do to minister to the Europeans in the villages of 
the eastern part of the diocese, and to evangelise the heathen 
who came to work on the brotherhood farms. Canon Beckett 
paid an annual visit to the magistracies established in Basuto- 
land after the cession of the country to England in 1868, and 
through his efforts services were held from time to time at 
Maseru, the official capital of the country, for the men of the 
Frontier Armed and Mounted Police stationed there. In 1875 
an itinerating chaplain to the Europeans was appointed, but 
nothing had been as yet done by the Church for the evan- 
gelization of theBasutos, and the promises to Moshesh remained 

Meanwhile a new Bishop, Dr. A. B. Webb, had succeeded to 
the see of Bloemfontein, and the Metropolitan had not forgotten 
to urge the claims of Basutoland upon his consideration. Bishop 
Webb, however, could do nothing for some years from lack both 
of means and men. At length, in 1876, a way seemed to be 
opening out for the establishment of a mission in the country. 
It ought certainly to have been done at least twenty years before, 
and we may believe that it would have been done had the 
Church possessed the power to do it. But, as we have seen, 
she had not. Vast territories had to be covered, and arrears of 
ivork to be made up before she could attempt the evangelization 
of a distant tribe like the Basutos. But now, at last, the way 
seemed to be opening out. As has been so often the case under 
like circumstances, it was the Society for the Propagation of the 
Oospel in Foreign Parts that came to the rescue ; and without its 
■efforts the English Church would, as far as I can see, have been 
tmable even to the present moment to bear any part or lot in the 


evangelization of these multitudes of heathen. But in 1875 the 
Society, at the Bishop's request, very generously voted an annuaL 
grant-in-aid, for the support of direct mission work to the^^ 
heathen in the Lesuto, and two priests of the diocese offered to 
go into the country in response to an appeal from their Bishop- 
These two clergy were the Eev. E. W. Stenson, who had been 
residing for a year at Maseru as chaplain to the Europeans, and 
myself. The Bishop desired Mr. Stenson to commence a 
mission at Mohale's Hoek, in the southern part of the country,, 
where there were already two or three families of native Chris- 
tians in communion with the Church ; and he directed me ta 
proceed northwards to the district of Leribe. 


S. Saviour's, Thlotse Heights. 

Leribe — Leaving Thaba 'Nchu — Modeler Poort —Prospecting — Molapo* 
—•Settlement at Thlotse Heights— Hut Building— Chapel * and School — 
Services — Heathen State of the Country — Ntoana — Dedication of the- 

The district of Leribe thus assigned to me as my future sphere of 
labour was by far the most heathen in the whole of Basutoland.. 
There was but one mission station in it, that of the French 
Protestants at Manamasoane. This station had been in 
existence about twenty years, and had been founded and 
superintended by M. Coillard, an earnest and devoted man who 
has since gone to the north of the Zambesi to proclaim the 
Gospel of Christ to the Banyai and other tribes in those regions.. 
M. Coillard's labours had not been without fruit, though almost 
ninety-nine per cent, of the population still remained in their 
heathenism. Moreover, the chief of the north, Molapo, the 
third son of Moshesh, whose name has been already mentioned^ 


had, after a few years' profession of Christianity relapsed, and 
was now hving a life of heathenism in every way more degraded 
than that of his father or his brothers. 

The responsibility thus laid upon me by my Bishop wa& 
indeed a great one. I was commissioned to be, in however 
poor and lame a way, a '' pioneer and founder '' of the mission 
work of the Church among these multitudes of heathen ; a task 
honourable indeed, but yet one from which I naturally shrank, 
knowing not only my own weakness, but keenly realising the 
fact that I had little or no experience of Basutoland, or of the 
Basutos, to guide me. Then, too, I hardly knew six words of 
Sesuto, and I felt that anything like a serious mistake at the 
inception of the work might be fraught with disaster to it, and 
possibly even wreck it altogether. ■ Still the command had come 
to me from the chief pastor of the diocese to '*go forth in the 
Name of the Lord," and T felt that it was my duty to " gird 
myself" and obey, " nothing doubting." I had been sixteen 
years in South Africa, and had taken part in various kinds of 
Church work, but pioneering was new to me. Still, though 
I was going out into heathenesse among a strange people 
speaking a strange language, I felt that it would be cowardly 
and wanting in faith to shrink from the responsibility. I had 
spent the previous year — a very happy one — at our mission 
station at Thaba 'Nchu, working side by side with '' brethren 
beloved in the Lord " among the Barolongs of Moroka ; and I 
had visited the central districts of Basutoland from time to time 
during the preceding five years, but the northern districts were 
unknown lio me. My year's experience at Thaba 'Nchu stood 
me in good stead, having given me an insight into the ideas and 
habits of a kindred tribe to the Basutos. Thaba 'Nchu also gave 
me a fellow-worker in the person of a young layman, William 
Lacy, who had been in the diocese for some years, and was 
now looking forward to ordination. He was an earnest and 
devout young man ; a good singer, a patient, painstaking school- 


master, and possessed a remarkable aptitude for acquiring the 
native languages. He spoke Serolong with an unusually pure 
aiCcent, and would no doubt rapidly acquire a knowledge of 
Sesuto, so that when he volunteered to go with me into the 
Lesuto I accepted his offer gladly and at once. 

Mr. Lacy and I made our **good byes" and left Thaba 
^Nchu at the end of June, 1876. One of our last visits was paid 
to the family of a small trader who had formerly lived in Basu- 
toland ; and his wife, a kind-hearted soul in her way, wished, I 
suppose, to say something cheering to us by way of a final 
farewell. '' You needn't be afeard of going, Sir," said she, *' I 
once lived among the Basutos myself, and got quite to like 
them. You needn't be afeard. Sir, they don't often eat one 
another now, and they alicays > spares the missionaries,^^ Well, at 
any rate it was comforting to know that there was such method 
in their madness ! Of course I could only smile in reply, and 
assure my good old lady friend that cannibalism had been extinct 
in Basutoland for the last thirty or forty years — a fact of which 
she appeared to be ignorant, though residing in a territory which 
had once belonged to Moshesh himself. 

Our plan was to go first to the Brotherhood farm at Modder 
Poort. We hoped to be able to pick up some information there 
as to the northern districts of the country for which we were 
bound, and we proposed to spend the remaining month of winter 
in learning what Sesuto we could, and in making copies of such 
translations as Canon Beckett possessed of the Baptismal and 
other offices of the Church. 

We started on a bitterly cold morning in an open transport 
ivaggon, the only vehicle at hand. In the afternoon a biting 
ivind set in from the south pole, and we were glad enough when 
night came to out span, and roll ourselves up in our blankets on 
the veldt under the waggon. We slept soundly, notwithstanding 
the frost and cold, and arrived the next evening at Modder 
Poort. The wind was now piercing in its coldness, and in the 


night snow began to fall. It continued snowing as steadily as 
in England for six or seven hours, by which time the whole 
•country from the Drakensbergen to the confines of the Kalahari 
desert was one scene of Arctic whiteness, the snow lying in 
some places three feet deep. It was a beautiful sight — to an 
Englishman at least — and one that is not often seen in South 
Africa, even in the neighbourhood of the Drakensbergen. 

Canon Beckett received us with his wonted kindness, takin g 
iihe keenest interest in the proposed mission, and giving us 
valuable information as to the condition of the Leribe district, 
iihe European residents of which he regularly visited every year. 

While at Modder Poort I pondered much over the various 
conversations I had had with the Bishop before leaving Thaba 
'Nchu, and embodied them in the following rules for our 
.guidance in the future. I give these as showing the spirit in 
^hich, I trust, the new mission was to be undertaken : — 

1. To keep aloof from politics, and not to take part in the 

pitsos or public political meetings of the tribe. 

2. Not to write letters of a public or political import for any 

of the chiefs. 

3. Not to identify the mission in any way with the govern- 

ment officials, lest the natives should think it to be a 
department of the civil service, and the missionaries 
paid or subsidised by the Queen ; the Church of 
England being in their eyes '' the Church of the Queen 
of the English." 

4. To respect the labours of those missionaries already in the 

country, who, in the present divided state of Christen- 
dom, are, unhappily, not in communion with our own 
branch of the Church Catholic. 
<5. To abstain entirely from controversy unless attacked ; and 
to endeavour then to speak the truth in love, and in the 
spirit of meekness. 


6. Not to receive into the communion of the Church, should 
they desire to enter it, Christians of other religious 
bodies under censure for evil conduct, or any whose- 
motives for wishing to unite with us were not, as far as 
could be judged, pure, and above reproach. 

I venture to think that these resolutions were wise and 
salutary ; at any rate, I am sure that they have been uniformly 
acted upon, and with good results, by all the workers in the 

At the end of July Mr. Lacy and I started on a fortnight's^ 
prospecting tour through the Leribe district. How we fared, the 
following notes of our journey, made at the time, will show. 

Monday, July 31, 1876. — Started after breakfast from 3« 
Augustine's, Modder Poort, with Mr. Lacy, the catechist of the 
mission, in an open bullock cart — a small, rough, strong, spring- 
less vehicle, the only one that could be obtained. It was drawn 
by two oxen, kindly supplied to us from the Brotherhood team.> 
We took with us a trusty Christian Mosuto, named Willem, as 
driver, and a heathen boy as leader of the oxen. Willem was 
also to act as our guide, though I fear he was not strong in that 
capacity. He had been born and bred on the borders of Basuto- 
land, but nevertheless knew little or nothing of the northern 
districts : very much like those Cockneys of Whitechapel who- 
have never seen Westminster Abbey, and have only a vague idea 
where it is. Our blankets, food, pots and pans were all packed 
into the cart, together with a good-sized tarpaulin, or " sail," 
which could be unfolded and let down by the side of the vehicle 
at night as a screen from the wind. The nights were still 
frosty, and would probably remain so during our journey, and as 
we had usually to sleep in the veldt, the sail proved to be a great 
boon. We trudged along by the side of the cart in high spirits, 
the ''yek" of Willem to his diminutive team sounding 
pleasantly in our ears. About an hour after sunset we reached 


the Caledon, and outspanned above the heights of Omega. A 
fire was soon kindled, the coffee kettle steamed and hummed, 
and we were soon regaling ourselves with a substantial meal of 
bread, meat, and coffee — the latter without milk, which was not 
to be had, but with plenty of sugar to make up for the absence 
of it. It being still winter, we feared that we should find the 
bare veldt a not very attractive couch. Fortunately, a brother 
of Willem's, who lived under a neighbouring hill, very kindly 
allowed us to put our bullocks into his kraal for the night ; and 
this enabled us to spread our blankets under the cart, where we 
could sleep securely and soundly without being exposed to the 
frost, which proved to be still severe. 

Tuesday, August 1. — A bright beautiful morning. After an 
^arly breakfast we in-spanned and crossed the Caledon safely, 
the water being low, and the drift in fairly good order. We 
were now in Basutoland, and our hearts rejoiced in the thought of 
having crossed the Rubicon, and being actually in the country in 
which we were to become witnesses for Christ, and which was 
to be our future home. We passed many kraals or villages, all 
of them heathen, and were constantly mistaken for " smouses," 
or itinerating traders ; the people noticing our coloured rugs and 
blankets, and thinking they were for sale. At mid-day we out- 
spanned near a village not many miles from Advance Post, the 
police station between Maseru and Leribe. A number of 
children came out to us, and when they found that we were 
Baruti they gathered us quite a large quantity of fuel, wherewith 
we kindled a fire and prepared our noonday meal. 

Wednesday, August 2. — It is marvellous with what security 
one travels in a country like this. Highway robbery and violence 
are here unknown, and one lies down to rest in the veldt at 
night with a stone for one's pillow, like Jacob of old, far away 
from any earthly habitation. The Southern Cross keeps its 
silent watch over one's head, and one is penetrated with the 
thought that though man is absent, God is near. With that 


thought one feels as secure, and as much at ease, as if one were 
dweUing in some great city at home, even in London itself. 

Thus the week passed on. We told the people everywhere 
that we were not smouses, but teachers, and were paying a visit 
to Molapo, their chief, with the object of settling in the country 
to teach them about God and the Saviour of mankind. We 
found them quite civil, and many of them asked us why we 
would not stay at their villages and teach them ; ;to which we 
replied that we could settle nowhere without the permission of 
the chief, and that we wished to see him, and hear from his lips 
in what part of the country he would like us to establish our 
mission. "Ka sebele," said they assentingly, leaving us to 
proceed on our way with many expressions of friendship. We 
had been provided by Canon Beckett with a letter of introduction 
to Major Bell, tlie British Resident of the district, whose head- 
quarters were near a small village not far from Leribe itself — the 
town of Molapo, which gives its name to the whole northern 

After a five days' trek we arrived at a trading station, close to 
the *' great place " of the chief, and Saturday morning found us 
at the door of the Residency. Major Bell received us with the 
greatest courtesy and kindness, invitmg us to stay with him 
until the locale of the new mission should be decided upon. 
Glad indeed were we to accept his kind hospitality, and to find 
ourselves once more between the sheets of a comfortable bed 
after our week's camping out on the bare, hard veldt. Mrs. Bell, 
a charming old lady, as good as she was handsome, vied with 
her husband in her efforts to make us welcome ; and the next 
day, being Sunday, the Major most kindly despatched mounted 
messengers to the few Europeans of the neighbourhood, chiefly 
traders, to announce the fact of our arrival, and to invite them 
to the services which were to be held for them. We could at 
present only attempt English services, not knowing more than a 
few sentences of Sesuto. We had an early celebration of the 


Holy Eucharist at the Eesidency, at which there were four 
communicants besides ourselves, one of them being a Zulu 
woman (" old Wilhelmina ") who understood some English and 
more Dutch and Sesuto, besides her own tongue. I subse- 
quently found that she was the only native Christian in the 
whole district of Leribe in communion with our own Church. 
She was a convert from one of our missions in Natal, and was 
now in service at the Eesidency. It was pleasant to begin our 
first celebration of the Divine Mysteries in this heathen country 
with a native Christian present, and receiving together with us 
the Bread of Life. The pleasure was, I need not say, an 
unexpected one, and we took it as an earnest of future blessing 
upon the work of the Church. All the Europeans at, or near 
the station, came to Mattins and Evensong, which were held in 
the forenoon and afternoon in a large tent placed at our disposal 
for the purpose by Major Bell. After Mattins I gave the people 
an address, stating the object of our visit. I said that we had 
come among them at the request of our Bishop, with the inten- 
tion of establishing a mission of the Church in that part of 
Basutoland ; and I added that I felt sure they would rejoice, not 
only for their own sake, but also for that of the multitude of 
heathen around them, that their ow^n Church (for I found that 
most of them were Churchmen) was at last to be represented in 
the Lesuto, and that henceforth they were to have a resident 
pastor of their own. I threw myself unreservedly upon their 
sympathies, and asked them to assist and strengthen us in our 
new and arduous undertaking by their alms and their prayers^ 
but above all, by the example of a consistent Christian life. The 
response to that appeal was most cordial, and from that day to 
this the Europeans around our mission have, with hardly an 
exception, aided the work in every way possible. 

Next morning, mounted on a couple of the Major's sturdy 
little Basuto ponies, and accompanied by his eldest son, Mr. 
Charles Bell, and an interpreter, we rode over to Leribe to pay 


our visit to the chief. The town of Leribe, which is entirely 
native, is built on a plateau or broad ledge of rock under the 
Leribe mountain, which rises sheer above it to the height of 
about a thousand feet, its bold, well-defined crest being the 
most prominent object for many miles round. The town is 
approached by a steep hill, up the rough waggon track of which 
ive clambered vigorously after a short canter across the breezy 
downs. In a few minutes we were at the inner Khothla, where 
i;he chief was waiting to receive us. He had lately built himself 
a large house of wrought stone, and of European design, which 
<50st him, it is said, more than £2,000 ; but he preferred his own 
huts, which, in accordance with native custom, were better built 
and more spacious than those of the common people. He only 
used the house on very special occasions, as, for instance, when 
receiving the Governor, or some high official of the British 
Government, or of the Orange Free State. Then he would sit 
in solemn state in his reception room, clad in ordinary English 
attire, or in some naval or military uniform which he had 
donned for the occasion, having first been vigorously '' tubbed " 
in warm water, and well washed with the best scented soap by 
four of his strongest body guards. Notice had been sent to his 
highness of our intended visit, Molapo always insisting that no 
white strangers should call upon him without due notice being 
given of their approach to his domains. We found him very 
greasy, but very pleasant. He was a huge, fat monster of a man 
— a human ox — '* got up," if not '' regardless of expense," at any 
rate quite a la Sesuto, His garments were few in number — 
simply a kaross and a cincture. The kaross was made of some 
four and twenty silver jackal skins beautifully sewed together, 
and had, no doubt, been originally a very handsome one, but it 
was now as greasy as its wearer. Fat men are said to be good 
jiatured, and Molapo did not belie the truth of the saying. He 
received us with the utmost cordiality, regaled us with his 
choicest ieting, ordered tea to be made for us, and introduced us 


to a bevy of his wives. He was said to have fifty-five or fifty- 
six of these, and was paying hut tax upon fifty, so utterly had he 
relapsed from his first profession of Christianity. His wives 
were the fattest women I ever beheld. We saw seven of the 
most favoured of them all squatting together in a semi-circle, 
drinking copious draughts of tea out of English made basins, for 
their lord was wealthy, and it pleased him to regale them with 
this expensive beverage. They looked like so many hippopotami 
being fattened for exhibition, and I felt sorry that we could not 
photograph the whole group. Two or three of them had on 
tiger skin karosses ; the others wore nothing but the short 
leather petticoat of the tribe. Each wore a thick heavy brass 
collar round her neck, and brass leglets and armlets almost to 
the knee and the elbow. I looked round upon the crowd of those 
present. From the chief, on his clay throne, down to the 
smallest of the small fry playing about at the entrance to the 
Ehothla all ivere fat, the little ones being the fattest of all. I 
never in my life saw such a collection 'of fat men, women, and 
children. There must have been plenty of good nature in that 
Khothla if the old saying be true. 

The chief professed great pleasure at the advent of the Bariiti 
of Ma-Churche, He had often heard of them — I give the pith of 
what he said to us — from his father, Moshesh, and from others : 
now he saw them. He was glad that they were come, and hoped 
that they would settle in his country and teach his people to 
speak and write the English language. He was an Englishman, 
and the Queen was his mother. He would see that the Queen's 
Bariiti were protected and treated with respect ; and he would 
send some of his own sons to their school as soon as they were 
able to build one. A chief liked to have many cows : the more 
he had the more milk he got, and the better able he was to feed 
his children. Now he should have three cows, all of them 
of excellent breed in their way, and yielding an abundance of 
milk. At first he only had one cow, the French Protestant 


Mission. Quite lately, only a month ago, he had acquired 
another cow, the Eoman Catholic Mission ; for he had just given 
permission to M. Gerard to commence a mission at the 
Khomokoana ; and now to-day he was to have a third, and 
perhaps the best of all ; for was not this new cow a present from 
the Queen of England herself ? Now he was happy. He not 
only had a black cow and a dun one, but to-day a red one also 
was to enter his kraal. 

We took all these compliments for what they were worthy 
knowing well by experience that a native is nothing if not com« 

Then we approached the main point : Where were we to 
settle ? 

From conversations I had had with Major Bell and others, 
as well as from my own observation, I had come to the conclu- 
sion that the heights above the junction of the Galedon and the 
Thlotse, near the village of Mapatsueng, would be one of the 
best spots at which to commence the mission. We suggested 
this spot to the chief, and he answered that he was quite willing 
for us to settle there. He thought our choice a good one, as it. 
was midway between the old-established station of the French 
Protestants at Manamasoane and the newly-projected mission of 
the Eoman Church at the. Khomokoana. If we went there we 
should not be too far from him, and he would be able to keep all 
three of his cows in view. He added that before settling there 
we must get the permission of Major Bell to do so, as he had heard 
that the Government intended removing their headquarters to 
that place next year. We were able to assure him that there 
would be no difficulty in obtaining the Eesident's consent ; that it, 
had in fact been already given ; and that it was the Eesident 
himself, among others, who had suggested the heights above the 
Thlotse as the most desirable spot on which we could build. 

During this conversation there entered a singular individual, 
a sort of court chamberlain, bearing in his hand a large and 


handsome metal tea-urn of European design and make. This he 
placed upon a small, dirty, ricketty table of the commonest deah 
which had been previously brought in. Then he proceeded 
leisurely, and with great gravity, to make tea. Boiling water 
was brought : tea, sugar, and milk were there in abundance ; and 
soon the steaming contents of the urn were handed round in 
basins to the chief and ourselves. But the tea-maker 1 What a 
curious creature he was ! First, he was the only lean man of the 
whole assembly ! Tall, spare, lithe, of handsome figure and 
well-polished skin, but with a dog-like visage — though pleasantly 
dog-like, I must own — dignified, and self-possessed as such a 
functionary should be, he moved about with due and proper 
gravity, quietly making his preparations, but attentive at the 
same time to every wink and nod of his master. You ask, how 
was he clad ? Well, gracefully enough, and inexpensively too. 
Besides his cincture he had nothing on but his wool — the woolly 
hair of his head which he had allowed to grow to a great length, 
and then clipped or shaved in the most fantastic fashion. What the 
pattern was it would be impossible to say. But I am sure that, 
if one could only have stuck a tail on him, he would have 
looked for all the world exactly like a clean w^ell- shaved 
mahogany- coloured human poodle, walking about with befitting 
dignity upon its hind legs. 

Again and again were tea and leting brought round, the 
inmates of the harem imbibing such copious draughts of the 
former that the perspiration streamed from them. At last we 
made our adieus and departed. 

Molapo kept his word with us ; and only recently it has come 
to my ears that the day after we left him he sent for Nkouta, 
the headman of the villages bordering on the Thlotse, and com- 
manded him, under all sorts of grievous pains and penalties, to 
see that the Baruti of Ma -Churches who had come into the 
country under his special protection, were not in any way 
molested, and that every one treated them with courtesy and 


The next day we rode out with Major Bell and other friends 
to the scene of our future labours, the Major assigning to us, 
on behalf of the Government, the usual grant of land for 
mission purposes, and pointing out the intended site of the 
Eesidency, which was at some little distance from our own com- 
pound. Trusting that we had been guided aright in our choice 
of this place as a base of operations for the work of evangelisa- 
tion, we returned to Leribe, and next morning started for Modder 
Poort to report progress to Canon Beckett and the Bishop. 

The Brotherhood homestead was reached in due time, the 
diocesan authorities approved of my report, and the Bishop was 
anxious that we should take up our residence at Thlotse with 
as little delay as possible. The winter was rapidly coming to 
an end, and, as spring was the best time for building, we 
resolved to go at once. We had no tent, and there was neither 
time nor money to buy one ; so we made up our minds to go a- 
gipsying in the veldt until some sort of shelter could be put up. 
We hired a large buck- waggon — that is to say, a carrier's bullock- 
waggon with no tent to it — which was the only large vehicle to 
be procured on the moment, packed up our goods and chattels, 
inspanned our bullocks, and set forth. On the 24th August we 
reached Thlotse, and outspanned on the ground allotted to the 
mission. The waggon was soon unladen, and returned home at 
once, leaving Mr. Lacy and myself with our worldly possessions 
alone in the veldt. It was an anxious moment. Mr. Charles 
Bell had very kindly engaged a Mosuto named Ntoana, a handy 
and intelligent man, to build us a round hut, or rondavel as the 
whites usually call it, of native fashion ; but little or no progress 
had been made towards it, the ground being so hard and dry 
that it was impossible to dig sods ; so we resolved to pile up our 
boxes into three parallel rows, leaving the two openings between 
them as sleeping places. In these openings we spread our 
mattresses on the ground, arranged our blankets upon them, and 
congratulated ourselves upon the possession of a snug and com- 


fortable bed under the canopy of heaven on the breezy heights 
of the Thlotse. Then we placed our three-legged iron pot, grid- 
iron, frying-pan, and kettle together at a few yards distance, 
close to some stones which served as a fire-place. Disu and 
dried grass were soon procured, the fire blazed, and in a few 
minutes the kettle began to drone, and the frying-pan to send 
forth its hissing, sputtering sounds, so dear to the heart of the 
hungry African traveller. Soon a simple meal was prepared and 
served, seasoned by that best of all sauces, genuine hunger. We 
declared that nothing could be more charming than such a 
wholesome, primitive, healthy life in the open veldt ; and, indeed, 
it was so for some time. But we found ere long that it was not 
altogether without its disadvantages, and we were by no means 
sorry when, some three months afterwards, it came to an end, 
and we were able to find a shelter under the roof of our first 

Next morning Ntoana came to us, bringing his eldest son, a 
small boy of about ten years of age, whom he wished to consign 
to my charge. '^ Monere,'' said he, '* he is your child now. I 
commit him to your care. From henceforth you are his father. 
Do what you please with him. He will work for you and obey 
you, and you will teach and instruct him as you think best." I 
took the little lad, the first Mosuto I had ever had under my 
care, and he served me faithfully for many years. We were 
glad to have him, and he was at once duly installed in the 
'' kitchen," that is to say, among the pots and pans by the fire- 
place, a position he greatly appreciated. He was intensely ugly, 
but very good-natured and honest, and always had a pleasant 
grin upon his broad, fat face. He was, of course, perfectly naked 
when he came to us, and while we were in the veldt his only 
garment was a coloured shirt which I managed to procure for 
him, and which was the admiration and the envy of the many 
small boys who came all day long to interview him. He soon 
learnt, under Mr. Lacy's tuition, to clean our simple cooking 


utensils and boil our kettle, and when not sitting among the pots 
was generally engaged in seeking and collecting fuel in the veldt 
round about. He was intensely anxious to learn English, and 
we taught him to say *' Good night, Sir," and '' Good morning, 
Sir," but he mixed up the times, and often roused us at an 
unearthly hour long before sunrise by peering in at us between 
our boxes with his black, shiny eyes, and swarthy, grinning 
face, and shouting out ** Gooty nightty, Sah ; kittle he cookey." 
The effect was irresistible, and he joined heartily in our laughter, 
for the natives have a keen sense of the ridiculous, and dearly 
love a joke. 

We made a time-table for ourselves, dividing and allotting 
the time as wisely as we could, and we found it a great help. 
It was good both for ourselves and for the shoals of natives who 
came all day long to make our acquaintance. It prevented us 
from wasting many hours in a mere desultory sort of way, and 
it taught our new friends that there were certain times when we 
desired to be alone, and must not be disturbed or intruded upon ; 
though, truth to say, it seemed almost impossible for them to 
learn this last lesson. 

A good deal of our time was spent in selecting grass and 
reeds for thatching purposes. Supplies of these came in daily, 
but large quantities of the grass had to be rejected as either too 
short or too old for thatching. There was of necessity no fixed 
standard of price, and natives are shrewd hands at bargaining. 
This is especially the case with the women, and it was they who 
brought us most of our supplies. They would haggle per- 
sistently for hours over a sixpence, and we on our parts, though 
ready to give a fair, nay, a liberal price for everything we needed, 
had no intention of being cheated if we could possibly help it. 
Sometimes it was great fun. One old lady brought, about a 
month after our arrival, a little milk for sale. We needed it, 
not having tasted any for some time. So I offered her sixpence 
for it. It was only a small quantity — not much more than a 


pint — and the milk season was beginning. Sixpence was there- 
fore a really liberal price for it. But no, our friend demanded 
a shilling ! I resolutely declined to purchase at such a price. 
*' Lady, you wish to eat me," I said, in my broken Sesuto. 
'' By Molapo," said she, "the price is a just one, and a great 
lord like you ought to be glad of the chance of getting the 
milk so cheaply." The chaffering went on, I resolutely declining 
to give way, though I confess I looked at the attractive liquid 
with longing eyes, for coffee in all its simple plainness for many 
weeks together is apt to lose something of its attractiveness. 
But it would never do to start with such an exorbitant price, 
so I turned away and left her. But she followed me, and 
insisted on thrusting the vessel containing the tempting liquid 
under my very nose, that I might smell its contents and see for 
myself that the milk was fresh and pure. Not to be taken 
captive in that way, though the temptation was sore, I retaliated 
hy taking out my sixpence and holding it before her eyes, 
knowing the weakness that natives have (like a good many very 
superior people) for money. But it availed me nothing. The 
old lady persisted in the '' shilleeng " ; and when I again turned 
away with a shrug and a smile she declared, after bantering me 
unmercifully for my stinginess before an applauding crowd of 
sympathisers, that rather than let the white man have the milk 
for sixpence she would drink it herself. ** Drink it,^' said I ; 
^' and peace be with you." And the old thing did drink it before 
our eyes, amid the laughter of the whole crowd. *^ Never mind," 
said I to my disappointed colleague, '*we shall see who will 
give way first." The same farce went on morning by morning 
for nearly a week, and then the ancient dame surrendered, fain 
to take the price I had offered. From that day forth she 
respected me immensely, and as the season advanced brought 
us each day larger and larger quantities of milk, still only 
looking for the sixpence ; and when one morning she produced 
a large bowl full and I gave her a shilling instead of the cus- 


ternary coin, she broke out into loud jubilations over her good 
fortune, praising and extolling my righteousness, beneficence, 
and wisdom. She is still alive, and still, I regret to say, a 
heathen ; but whenever we meet, and she utters the accustomed 
*^ Dumela Monere," there is a twinkle in her eye and a grin on 
her face which seem to say almost as plainly as the words 
themselves : " You remember the milk, Monere ! " 

What with haggling over purchases, chatting with the 
hundreds of people who came to see us in our gipsy encamp- 
ment, and paying visits to the villages round the heights, the 
days quickly passed by. The weather was bright and dry, and 
this pic-nic Ufe did not hurt us. Though we were more than 
two months in the veldt, we had rain only once, and that was in 
the night, when it came down unexpectedly and in torrents — nay,, 
in sheets. We were rolled up in our blankets between the boxes 
in the soundest of slumbers, when suddenly we were rudely 
awakened by the trickling of water down our backs. Then we 
began to realise what was going on over our heads. We led a 
spongy, sodden existence for a few hours, and then the clouds 
cleared away, and the sun came out in all his splendour. In a 
short time we and our bedding were once more warm and dry. 
Major Bell added to the many kindnesses he had already shown 
us by the timely loan of a tent for two or three weeks until our 
huts were ready, and this he did, I feel sure, at great personal 
inconvenience to himself. So on the whole we got along 
famously. The greatest inconvenience we experienced was the 
want of privacy. With all our endeavours we could hardly 
secure any time for ourselves except at night, and then the moths 
and the wind together would not permit us to light a candle^ 
and lantern we had none. From dawn to sunset we were 
absolutely public property. We had to rise in the morning and 
perform our ablutions, prepare our food, and even say our 
prayers in the presence of an admiring group of savages. The 
dust, too, was at times rather troublesome. Sometimes it 


would whirl about in small clouds, peppering our porridge so 
effectually as to call up to our minds very forcibly an old and 
familiar saying with which I have no doubt my readers are 
well acquainted. 

But our first hut was approaching completion, or rather was 
sufficiently advanced to be habitable, Ntoana having dragged 
barrel after barrel of water up from the fountain at the bottom 
of the hill and poured it upon the ground, saturating as far as 
he was able the spots where he intended to cut the sods he 

Towards the middle of November we took possession of our 
hut, though it was not yet properly beamfilled, and possessed 
neither door nor window. The holes were there, but timber was 
not to be had in the neighbourhood, and we had to wait for 
both door and window until wood could be procured from Beth- 
lehem, a Free State town about fifty miles to the north-west of 
us. But oh, the luxury of even a doorless and windowless 
rondavel after our long sojourn in the bare and naked veldt !■ 
The wind might howl at night through the two apertures — and 
it did, though we hung blankets before them — but we were 
snugly ensconced in our beds, with a roof over our heads^ 
oblivious to rain or storm. By Christmas six of these round 
huts were finished, or at any rate sufficiently advanced for use. 
Each of them was twelve feet in diameter, and fchey comprised a 
dining-room, store-room, kitchen, and three bedrooms. We tad 
thus a whole suite of apartments, or six detached residences, 
complete for little more than £60. And these poor rondavels,. 
with certain small additions, were destined to last us nearly 
nine years, though certainly we had no idea of it when we built 

Before settling at Thlotse I had engaged a mason, a white 
man, from Ficksburg, the nearest Free State village, to build us 
a temporary chapel, school, and mission-room of raw brick. I 
had only £150 at my disposal to start with, and this had been 


most generously provided by the congregation of St. Peter's, 
Eaton Square, London. Without their timely aid we should 
have been unable to build any place of worship at all. The 
building we erected was of necessity of the simplest kind, and 
the smallest possible dimensions. It was an oblong structure, 
plastered with mud, unceiled, and under a flat, galvanised-iron 
Toof. It was fifty-four feet long, and twelve broad, and was 
divided into three compartments separated from each other by a 
thin partition wall. It gave us a chapel twenty feet by twelve, 
a mission-room twelve feet by twelve, in which I could receive 
and converse with the numbers of heathen who still poured in 
daily to interview us, and a school-room the same size as the 
€hapel. Except the cross on its gable, and possibly its small 
-** carpenter's Gothic " windows, there was little or nothing 
about the exterior of such a building which marked it off as one 
•devoted to religious worship. An accomplished ecclesiologist 
w4io came to visit us some time afterwards protested that I had 
*' put up a ginger beer shop," but as he did not offer to procure 
the funds wherewith to improve it, or still less to erect a more 
seemly and permanent church, his criticism did not distress me, 
true though it might be. Anyhow, our poor little ** early 
Sesuto " house of worship was quite as ecclesiastical and 
^* correct " m its style and tone as the great Capetown Cathedral 
(built, of course, long before the advent of Bishop Gray), which 
cost so much money that it was said of it that its bricks, like 
those of the castle, "• were cemented together with silver instead 
of mortar." By the way, speaking of this cathedral, a good 
story used to be current years ago as to the uniqueness of its 
architecture. Two tourists from England, on landing at the 
Cape, intent on seeing all that was to be seen, naturally made 
their way to the chief church of the place. They paused in 
astonishment before its portico, and looked up at its tower. In 
bewilderment one said to the other, '' What kind of architecture 
do you consider this to be ? " " Day and Martin," replied his 


friend. '^ Day and Martin ! What can you mean?" ''Why, 
do you not see," rejoined the first, " that the tower is exactly 
hke two of Day and Martin's blacking bottles — a shilling one, 
with a sixpenny one standing on the top of it ? " On entering 
the sacred edifice they gazed about in greater astonishment than 
ever. They had never seen such a remarkable church before. 
Suddenly the gentleman with the knowledge of architecture 
seemed relieved. He had solved the problem. The church had 
been built, and rightly so, with a view to the prevention of 
idolatry. Accosting the verger, he asked him '' whether any 
idolatry was ever practised there?" "Certainly not. Sir," 
replied the astonished guardian of the sacred fane, '' Certainly 
not. But what makes you ask such an extraordinary question?" 
^' I thought not," exclaimed the young Englishman triumphantly. 
^' I thought not. It would be impossible — quite impossible. 
For " — with a sweep of the eye round the building — '' this place 
is like nothing ' in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or 
in the water under the earth.' " 

The interior of S. George's is now very different, but the 
'* two blacking bottles " still remain. 

'' Beggars must not be choosers," so I had to do the best I 
could with my £150, which, with a little more added to it by 
kind friends in the diocese, provided us with a chapel, school, 
mission-room, and six huts. 

A few weeks after our arrival we arranged, with the sanction 
of the Bishop, a simple mission service in Sesuto, suitable for 
use among the heathen. Then we taught the children who 
came to us a Sesuto version of two well-known morning and 
evening hymns, together with the Agnus Dei, likewise in their 
own tongue. We found a Mosuto who knew a little simple 
English, and a good deal more Cape Dutch, and him we em- 
ployed as an interpreter. Thus equipped, we set forth and held 
our first mission service. This service was begun with the 
invocation of the Ever Blessed Trinity, and consisted of a short 


acknowledgment of sin, a hymn, a chapter from one of the 
Gospels, a discourse upon a portion of this chapter, the Agnus 
Dei, the Good Friday collect for the conversion of the heathen, 
the Prayer of S. Chrysostom, and the Grace. 

As soon as we got into our first hut, Mr. Lacy gathered the 
children together daily, teaching them to read, write, and sing, 
and mstructing them twice a week in the foundation truths of the 
Christian Faith. This was, of course, done in the open air, 
and as the hot weather was approaching, the work soon became 
very fatiguing under the scorching rays of a burning African 

What spare time vve could command was devoted either to 
the study of Sesuto, or to the laying out of a garden. We made 
some progress with both, but not much at first with the latter, 
the ground being still very dry, and our spades new and blunt, 
and there was no means of sharpening them. The knotted roots- 
of the grass (it was alllarge sour veldt) seemed as hard as nails, 
and digging through them with our blunt implements was by no 
means a light task, especially to amateur navvies like ourselves, 
whose hands soon became blistered. A Boer, who came one day 
to visit us, consoled us with the assurance that it would be all 
right soon. We only needed patience and perseverance: the 
rain would fall in due time ; and, meanwhile, we had only lost 
*' the lazy skin " of our hands ! So saying, he took my spade, 
and very obligingly proceeded to dig up a patch of ground for us, 
doing as much work in half-an-hour — though he confessed it 
*' rather tough " — as I could in well-nigh half-a-day. We laid 
our friend's exhortation to heart, and in due time the garden 
and orchard were laid out and planted with fruit trees, vege- 
tables, and flowers ; to which we added, as time went on, a few 
ornamental trees and shrubs. Gardening afforded us a pleasant 
and healthful relaxation and change from mental occupations ;. 
and, moreover, if we were ever to taste vegetables or fruit, it was 
necessary for us to grow them ; besides which, our efforts in this 


direction acted as examples and incentives to the natives to go 
and do likewise. 

The spot on which we settled is one of the most beautiful in 
Basutoland. It is situated on the heights above the confluence 
of the Caledon and the Thlotse. Eight in front, to the east 
stand the Malutis : their bold, lofty, serrated peaks stretching 
away northwards to the Mont aux Sources, and southwards to 
Matatiele. There was but one village on the heights when we 
took possession of our ground : this was the village of Mapa- 
tseung, the headman of which was a one-eyed old man named 
Modibetsana. But though there were few people actually on the 
heights, there were over a thousand in the small clusters of 
villages which encircled this mountain ridge, and all these people 
were heathen. Besides these fchere were many villages, some 
large, some small, scattered about in all directions at no great 
distance from our settlement, and within easy reach of each 
other ; and we therefore felt that we had been guided aright in 
settling at this particular place — nay, we cherished the hope 
that Thlotse might become, in course of time, a great centre of 
Christian life to the whole district. We were just half way 
between the French Protestant mission at Manamasoane in the 
north and the newly-formed Eoman Catholic station at Kliomo- 
koana in the south, and there was ample room for us all. We 
at Thlotse had before us, almost at our door, many thousands of 
heathen, all of whom were, as far as we could see, friendly 
towards us ; and many of whom had expressed a wish to *' hear 
about God." Nearly three-fourths of these people were Basutos, 
the remainder being Matebele, that is to say, Fingoes and Zulus, 
who were for the most part fugitives — men who had escaped 
at various times from the tyranny and cruelty of Chaka, Dingaan, 
and other sanguinary monsters, and had taken refuge in the 
territory of Moshesh. 

The year 1876 was fast drawing to a close, and by Christmas 
the greater part of our compound was enclosed. We were 


beginning to feel at home in our huts, and when one day Major 
Bell's little daughters made us a present of two wee kittens to 
begin life with, our happiness was complete ! Our hut builder, 
Ntoana, proved to be a very intelligent and trustworthy man, 
and I was much pleased to observe that he came regularly to our 
mission services. I had many pleasant talks with him in the 
evening when the labours of the day were over, and was glad to 
find that, though he must have been at least thirty years of age, 
he had not taken a second wife. This looked hopeful ; so one 
day I made bold to say to him that I hoped he would not do so. 
I besought him not to place such a bar between himself and the 
service of the Saviour, of Whose redeeming love and power he had 
now begun to learn. '' No, Monere," said he, with a deprecatory 
shake of the head, '' I shall never do so. I should not think of 
doing such a thing." On my assuring him that that was good 
news indeed, he replied with something like a suppressed sigh, 
** No, Monere; indeed, I shall never take a second wife. What 
ivith her had temper and scolding words, one of them is quite enough ; 
two of them would kill me I " 

What could I reply to that ? I felt beaten, and said nothing. 
Poor Ntoana ! He was a faithful fellow, and met his death a 
few years afterwards in the battle field, pierced by the spears of 
the rebels while loyally and valiantly defending the property and 
the interests of his chief. 

The new year saw our chapel and school rapidly approaching 
completion, and on the 23rd of January we were cheered and 
gladdened by the arrival of the Bishop, who had from the first 
taken the keenest interest in all that we were doing, and who 
had now come to dedicate the temporary chapel. His lordship 
was accompanied by a small party of friends, amongst whom 
were Sister Emma, the Mother Superior of the recently estab- 
lished diocesan Sisterhood at Bloemfontein, and Miss Trench, a 
daughter of the Archbishop of Dublin. 

On the Feast of the Conversion of S. Paul, 1877— a fitting 


day for such a work — the Bishop blessed the Mission buildings, 
and dedicated the little chapel to the service of Almighty God, 
by a simple, yet solemn, Service of Benediction. It was a happy 
day, and one full of hopefulness for the future. A crowd of 
heathen testified their interest in this first Mokete (feast) of the 
Church, and all the Europeans of the neighbourhood, as well as 
many from a distance, were present on the occasion. The 
building thus dedicated was mean and poor, its flat, unceiled 
iron roof, and its bare, clay-plastered walls, bearing witness to 
the poverty of the Mission ; yet it was nevertheless the sanctuary 
of the All Holy One, and dear to us all as the first house of 
prayer and praise set up by the Church in this uttermost and 
heathen comer of the earth. I have a vivid recollection of the 
good "Mother" kneeling alone between the services upon the 
hardly yet dry mud floor, in earnest prayer and supplication to 
God for the newly- established Mission. She has passed away to 
her reward, with others who were present with us then ; but 
" their works do follow them," and their memories will long 
linger as a sweet and abiding influence for good in the hearts of 
many, not only in Basutoland,^ but in the whole diocese of 

The chapel was dedicated to the All Holy and All Merciful 
Saviour, a dedication Eastern in its origin, and a favourite one 
in the missions of the Eussian Church. The interior of the 
building was almost as bare and mean as the exterior. A few 
school forms of deal formed the furniture. The holy table was 
of the same material, but covered with a plain white silk altar 
frontal — an offering from a friend in England. The only thing 
of any beauty or value was a handsome Calvary group which 
had been given to me when last in England, some years before, 
by a brother in the Faith engaged in home mission work among 
the outcasts and practical heathens of London. He thought, 
and rightly, that such a work of art would not only be a fitting 
adornment to a mission chapel out in the wilds of Africa, but 


that it might also be useful as a teaching power to the untutored 
African — speaking to him even more powerfully than words can 
do of the love of Jesus. This piece of statuary has been from 
first to last most valuable to the Mission, and it is now placed 
above the altar of our permanent church. As soon as it was put 
up in the chapel crowds of people came to see it. They had 
never seen such a beautiful '* setsuantso" * before, and were 
never weary of bringing their friends to look at it, and hearing 
from our mouths the meaning of it. Many were the exclama- 
tions of awe and wonder which fell from their lips, and several 
of those who thus first saw it have since become disciples of the 
Crucified. They never failed to enquire what the '' assagai " 
wound in the side meant ; and one day a man stepped forward 
and asked me, *' Monere, what did That Man do that they thus 
nailed him to the wood, and stabbed him in the side with the 
lerumo .^ Was he a very bad man ? Was he a robber or a 
murderer / ' ' 

His wonder was great when I told him the story of the 
Cross. He looked up in awe and reverence, and quietly left the 
chapel, pondering doubtless on what he had heard. 

I give this as a sample of the utter ignorance of many of the 
Basutos. They had never so much as heard of the Lord Jesus 
Christ or of His Salvation. No doubt many of those who live 
near mission stations have learnt something of Christianity, and 
have some knowledge of Christ, but in our northern district, and 
especially among the mountaineers, the darkness was deep, and 
the ignorance dense. It was among such a population that we 
had been called to unfurl the banner of the Cross, and build up 
in our humble way the Kingdom of God. 

* Representation, picture, image, parable. 



The First Convert — Arrival of the Kev. F. Balfour — A Visitor from 
England — Application of Joel for a Missionary — Joel and his People — 
Sekubu — Mosola and Maoeng — Building Operations — A True Friend — 
^ • Not a Mealie " — Modibetsana's Money — Fat Daniel. 

OoD gave us our first convert soon after our arrival, and before 
we had thoroughly settled down to the work. His heart was 
touched at the first preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and grace 
conquered him. He was a bright, manly young fellow, belonging 
to the Native Mounted Police, of whom there was a detachment 
close to us, all of them heathen. He bore an excellent character 
in the force, and was respected and trusted by his officers. Born 
and brought up in the mountains, living all his life among 
heathen relations, and knowing nothing of Christianity, he had 
left his home to take service with the Queen of England, his 
'' mother," as the natives call her, little dreaming that very soon 
he was to enter a higher service still — the service of the King of 
Kings, As far as man can judge, he gave himself to his Lord 
and Saviour with all his heart, and he has been faithful ever 
since. Would that all our converts had been equally earnest 
and sincere ! He was the first-fruits of the Mission — given to us 
as an earnest of the harvest to come — and he has always been 
one of the best and most consistent of our Christians, never 
having given the Mission the least trouble during the fourteen 
years I have known him. As a tribute to his fidelity and 
integrity, I may perhaps mention the fact that, whenever the 
officials of the district wished to send a trustworthy man to the 
nearest bank (in a Free State town) to obtain cash for a Govern- 


ment draft or note, he was the orderly invariably singled out for , 
the purpose ; and I have often met him on the road riding home 
from Bethlehem or Ladybrand with a large leathern satchel at 
his back, packed almost to bursting with silver coins. A cheery 
'' Dumela" would be exchanged between us, a joke cracked at 
his expense as to the bigness and weightiness of his burden, and 
with a pleasant '* Sala hauthle, Monere," he would ride on alone ; 
I meanwhile musing upon the honesty of my black brother, and 
the absolute security of the country, anything approaching to 
highway robbery being unknown in it. May God give him grace 
to continue *' Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his life's 

The Bishop had not long left us when a new labourer in the 
mission field came to us, with the intention of devoting himself 
to work in the Lesuto. This was the Eev. Francis E. T. 
Balfour, a young priest, who had but recently arrived from 
England, and who desired, with the sanction of the Bishop, to 
attach himself to the staff at S. Saviour's. A man of culture 
and refinement, genial and sweet in disposition, and full of 
ardour and devotion, his presence was like a gleam of sunshine 
in our midst. He had left his " ancestral halls " and his delight- 
ful family circle in Ireland to cast in his lot with us, and live in 
a rude hut of sods and hard-baked mud in the wilds of Basuto- 
land ; and though in after years he was called to other fields of 
work in the vast diocese of Bloemfontein, he and his have never 
ceased to take the keenest interest in his " maiden " mission, and 
to aid it in every way in their power. He speedily acquired a 
fair knowledge of Sesuto, and took as his special work the 
evangelization of the heathen people in the villages round the 
heights and over the Thlotse, visiting them daily, either on 
horseback or on foot, and sitting down and chatting with them 
in their own huts and kraals. Such spare hours as he could 
command were devoted to tree planting in the Mission compound, 
a work of which he was very fond, and in which he found his 



principal recreation. He was assisted in this by his brother, 
Mr. Blagney Balfour, a layman, who came to us in March, and 
was desirous of remaining some time in the country, with a view 
of studying the Church's method of mission work, as well as the 
characteristics of the native tribes among whom the Kingdom of 
God was being set up. 

In April Mr. Blagney Balfour wrote a letter to some friends 
in England which was published soon afterwards in a missionary 
magazine ; and from this letter I give the following extracts, 
as showing his first impressions of the work at Thlotse, and 
also of needs which were even then becoming apparent : — 

'' Thlotse Heights, April 6th, 1877." 

^'I have now been a month as a visitor at this station, and have seen 
enough to make me believe that a real work is going on which only wants 
time to grow. . . . Basutoland affords the most obvious and widest field 
for missionary work in the whole diocese. It is is expressly reserved by 
Government for natives. White people are obliged to ask leave to settle 
here. . . . 

'• If people ask what we want, I may say that we want as much money 
as we can get. It is wanted for three main objects : — 

''1. To build a mission house. Huts are very comfortable in summer, but 
they have no chimneys, and will no doubt be cold in winter on a spot some 
6,000 feet above the level of the sea. Besides, they are not durable, and can 
only be regarded as a makeshift. 

"2. Church. — The congregation will, no doubt, under God's blessing, 
increase. . . . Natives come here from all parts; many (with faces 
painted with red clay) come to have a look at the church. This gives an 
opportunity of inviting them to come on Sunday to ;jr<2?/. 

'•3. Schools. — There are some twenty boys ready to come to an Industrial 
School, where they would be taken as boarders, and taught trades. A girls' 
Industrial School might also be started if money could be obtained for 

The June of this year marked a forward step in the history 
of the Mission. In that month Joel Molapo, a chief hitherto 
unknown to us except by name, made an application to us, 
through Major Bell, to provide his people with a '* Teacher." 


He was the eldest son of Molapo, but not by his great wife, 
and though not a chief of the front rank was a man of power 
and influence in the northern portion of the district. Mr. 
Francis Balfour and I rode up to Buta-Bute (Moshesh's first 
stronghold, it will be remembered), at the foot of which Joel had 
built his village, in accordance with the wishes of his father. 
We had an interview of some length with the young chief, the 
result of which was that we felt it our duty to report his 
application to the Bishop. Some of the traders who knew 
him well warned us that he was not altogether a reliable 
person. He was said to be a man who gave himself airs ; 
besides which he had the reputation of being quarrelsome, hot- 
tempered, and ambitious. Still, as he had invited us to come 
into his country, had promised us protection, and ardently 
desired that his people might be instructed in all that the 
white man had to teach, we could not refuse to entertain his 
request for a white teacher. He had, moreover, expressly 
given us full and free permission to preach the Gospel to all 
in his territory who might come within our influence, and 
this was an additional reason why we considered ourselves 
bound to make known his wishes to the chief pastor of the 
diocese. Joel and his people were thoroughly heathen, and were 
as yet untouched by any Christian agency, and this seemed all 
the more reason why the Church should, if possible, respond, 
and respond at once, to the call that had been made to us. 

The Bishop replied that '' such a door being thus opened by 
the Great Head of the Church," it would be '' wrong of us to 
close it, and not attempt to enter" ; and he therefore thought 
that we were bound to take advantage of it, and to commence a 
mission at or near Buta-Bute as soon as possible. 

He suggested that Mr. Balfour might undertake this new and 
unexpected work, aided by the services of a young lay catechist, 
Mr. T. E. Grimsley, then working in another part of the diocese. 

Mr. Balfour at once responded to the Bishop's wishes, 


generously offering not only to work at Buta-Bute without 
stipend, as he had been doing at Thlotse, but also guaranteeing 
the support of the catechist, and promising to obtain from friends 
in England the money necessary for building purposes. He and 
I rode up to Leribe to interview Molapo on the subject of Joel's 
proposal, it being necessary to obtain the old chief's consent to 
the establishment of the Mission before any definite move could 
be made towards acting upon Joel's invitation. We found the 
great chief as fat and good humoured as ever. He received us 
graciously ; was pleased to hear that his son wished to have a 
'' Teacher;" and gave his formal consent to our settling in the 
northern part of his country. A few days afterwards he and 
Joel together assigned to us a suitable piece of ground on which 
to build and commence the Mission. Preparations for departure 
from Thlotse were soon made, and a week afterwards Mr. 
Balfour and his catechist were encamped at Sekubu — the 
name of the village nearest their ground — busily engaged in 
hut building. 

The site of this new Mission is a very fine one. It is at 
the foot of a high ridge jutting out from a leading spur of 
the Malutis, at the back of which are several interesting 
Bushman caves ; and the view from the crest of the ridge is one 
of the Avildest and most magnificent to be found anywhere in the 
world. At any rate, such is the opinion of those travellers who 
have seen it. A number of scattered kraals and villages are 
spread all round, the inhabitants of which are some of the 
rudest, most savage, and most thoroughly heathen in the whole 
of Basutoland. 

Within three months several rondavels were finished, and the 
foundations of a small, but substantial church of stone put in. 
A peach orchard was laid out, enclosed with a sod wall, and 
planted with young trees ; and, in fact, the ** English Teachers 
of Ma-Churche " were fast settling themselves down and feeling 
at home in their new field of labour. They soon made the 


acquaintance of the people, who for the most part gave them a 
ready welcome, and seemed pleased to think that missionaries 
had come to settle so near them. The rain doctor of the place, 
a grimy-looking individual named Mosola, with three wives, 
brought down his eldest boy to Mr. Balfour a day or two after 
his arrival, and desired that the lad might remain at the Mission 
to be trained by the missionaries as they thought best. Maoeng 
(that was the boy's name) was a gaunt creature, all arms and 
legs, and as grimy as his father — in fact, he would have made an 
admirable scarecrow in an English cornfield. He greatly enjoyed 
his new life, and was usually to be found squatting before the 
fire with his eyes fixed upon the coffee-kettle, and surrounded by 
a group of boys of his own age patiently waiting for a small share 
of the precious beverage which the dearly loved vessel contained, 
for the native is yet to be found who does not appreciate coffee. 
Mr. Balfour had fortunately succeeded in securing the 
services of a clever American, living not far off on the borders 
of the Free State, who *'knew a great many trades, and 
could turn his hand to anything." This man engaged to build 
a church, and a school room at a little distance from it, for 
a very moderate sum, and he carried out his contract faithfully. 
Two of the rondavels were placed at his disposal, and shortly 
afterwards he arrived with his wife and family. The wife was a 
good natured Dutch woman from the Cape, a good cook, with a 
passionate love of her art. She was particularly addicted to 
making " cookies " (cakes), and contrived to have about once a 
fortnight a *' born day," as she expressed it in her broken 
English. She had a prodigious number of relatives and kins- 
folk, and remembered most religiously the birthdays of all of 
them. There was a perpetual production of ''cookies" and 
tarts going forward, much to the satisfaction, no doubt, of the 
hungry brethren, who duly appreciated her shining talents as a 
pastry-cook and confectioner. How she managed to get the 
flour, currants, and other ingredients necessary to the production 


of such dainties I do not in the least know — but she did ; and 
when a third missionary appeared in the person of Mr. Woodman, 
who had just been ordained to the mission, her number of 
''born days" began ev^^ to increase, and the ''cookies" 
increased with them. She had a special veneration and affec- 
tion for the head of the mission party, and used to say of him, 
'' Mr. Balfort, he very good man. Yes, he very good man 
indeed. He eat plenty, plenty cookies, and he say plenty, 
plenty prayers." 

In preparing designs and plans for the church and school, as 
well as in all practical matters connected with the mission, 
Mr. Balfour was greatly aided by the advice and experience of 
the leading trader of the district, Mr. Alfred Ernest Eichards. 
This gentleman, whose headquarters were at Leribe, most kindly 
acted as " Clerk of the Works," and spared neither time nor 
trouble in superintending the building operations ; making also 
many valuable suggestions, which were the outcome of his own 
personal experience in the country. The result was that the 
Epiphany Mission — for such was the dedication of the church at 
Sekubu — soon possessed neat-looking and thoroughly substantial 
buildings, superior, in durability at least, to any others then in 
the diocese. And here let me say that Mr. Richards has been 
a true friend to the Church ever since we have known him. He 
has been the standing churchwarden of S. Saviour's for many 
years past : his hospitable house has ever been open to the 
workers in our missions, and his sympathy and aid in times of 
trial and perplexity have never been invoked in vain. Were all 
English colonists imbued with his spirit there would be no fear 
of the black man learning the vices of civilization instead of its 

Here we must leave Sekubu, merely adding that when, a 
short time afterwards, Mr. Balfour was called to labour elsewhere 
in the diocese, Mr. Woodman succeeded him, and ably carried 
on the work of evangelization thus begun. In his labours 


among the people of the north his hands were greatly strength- 
ened and sustained by his sister, Miss Woodman, who devoted 
herself entirely to the work of the mission until the outbreak of 
the rebellion in 1880. 

In preaching to the heathen, and in our conversations with 
them, we found that, at first, the men were more ready to hear 
and receive the Word of God than the women. I ought, 
perhaps, rather to say the young men ; for the older ones, who 
were mostly polygamists, were, for the most part, very stolid, and 
turned a deaf ear to our message. The women seemed afraid to 
listen to us ; partly, no doubt, from their innate conservatism, and 
partly because they did not know anything of this new " thuto " 
(teaching) of Christ or its teachers. But, after the lapse of a few 
years, the contrary became the case : the women, finding out 
that Christianity was their truest friend, and its teaching such 
as would raise and ennoble them, began to give ear to the truths 
of the Gospel, while the men held aloof from it. Yet the 
ingrained heathenism of the women was not quickly or easily 
overcome. They saw clearly enough — as clearly as the men — 
— that in embracing the faith of Christ they would have to come 
out, not only from their old superstitions, but from other and 
nameless degradations of heathenism, and rise to a higher and a 
purer life ; and this was distasteful and irksome to them. They 
preferred the beer-drinking and other sensual habits and 
pleasures in which they had grown up, and shrank from the 
discipline of the Cross of Christ. '' I am not a mealie," said one 
such one day to a Christian friend, who was endeavouring to 
persuade her to attend a Christian service, and listen to the new 
teaching. '* I am not a mealie, to be wetted first and bruised 
afterwards." A remarkable answer, truly, for a heathen 
woman to make, and one that showed quite clearly that she had 
grasped the import of the Gospel message. For in South Africa 
it is the custom among the Boers, and many of the natives also, 
to wet the maize, and then bruise it in a large wooden mortar 


before boiling and preparing it for the table, and the woman was 
well acquainted with this custom. Hence the force and reality 
of her reply. The ''wetting "referred, of course, to Holy 
Baptism; the *' bruising" to the discipline of the Cross — that 
"crucifying of the flesh, with its affections and lusts," so 
absolutely necessary to progress in the spiritual life. 

Among the people with whom we were brought into contact 
there were, as may be supposed, many " queer characters." 

I will give one or two samples of them. 

There was a funny, one-eyed old man, who was a miserc. 
His name was Modibetsana, and he was, as the reader may 
perhaps remember, the headman of the village of Mapatsueng — 
the village already mentioned as the nearest to our station. The 
old fellow, who wore a fur cap, and pottered and tottered about 
with a long staff in his hand, came to me one morning in great 

" Monere," he said, " a dreadful thing has happened to me. 
Last night my hut was burnt down through the carelessness of 
the children playing with the fire, and everything I had in the 
world was destroyed or ruined." 

Then he, of course, asked me to help him. He begged for a 
blanket or two and a pot, or the wherewithal to purchase them 
at the store. 

I kaew that his story was true, but suspected that he was not so 
poor as he pretended. He was reputed to be a miser, who had_ 
laid up a secret hoard of coins in some private corner of his hut.. 

So I asked him what had become of his money. 

" Money ? " said he, ''I have no money ; I never had any." 

" Brother,'^ said I, " that will not do. I know better. I am 
sure you had some. Tell me what has become of it. You must 
have saved it from the flames." 

" Well, Monere," he replied, -' you are my brother, and my 
father too, so I will tell you. I really did have some money : 
only a little — ^just a very little." 


^'Oh!" said I. 

" Well, yes, Monere, it was a great lot : a fortune for a poor 
old man like me to lose. It was two pounds — two golden 
sovereigns with the Queen's likeness stamped upon them ; and I 
kept them rolled up in a lappie (old piece of rag), and hidden 
away in a corner where no one could find them." 

" Well? " I rejoined, '' What has become of them ? Where 
are they ? " 

'' Monere," said he, *' I do not know where they are. That 
is a mystery to me. I only know that they are nowhere to be 
found. I have looked everywhere, and lean find neither the 
sovereigns nor the rag they were wrapped in." 

" But," said I, *' the money must be where you left it, unless 
it was stolen. The fire was not fierce enough to melt it." 

*' Now," rejoined the old man, " I will tell my father the real 
truth. The money has gone up to heaven, 

" Gone up to heaven ! my brother. Wliat ca7i you mean ? " 

'' I saw it go up," said he, ** It went up with the smoke. The 
fire melted it, and it went up into the sky, pouff, pouff, pouff, 
like shining smoke, higher and higher, till I could see it no 

The old man firmly believed bis own statement, and nothing 
that I could say could disabuse him of his impression. The 
money was never found, and I have no doubt that it was 
abstracted during the conflagration by one of his many sons, 
none of whom were of much reputation for their honesty. Bat 
Modibetsana believed that it had been taken from him by God 
as a punishment for his undue love of it. 

Another "• character " was a Zulu, whom everyone called 
'*Fat Daniel." He was not a true, blue-blooded Zulu, but 
belonged to one of the fish eating tribes. Most natives do not 
eat fish. They call it water snake, and consider it unwhole- 

How *' Daniel" got his name I do not know. He seems 


never to have had any other, though he was a rampant heathen, 
and had certamly never been baptised. Fat he certainly was, 
and very black too. When his face was well anointed with pig- 
fat and thoroughly polished up, as it was on great occasions, he 
always reminded me of a sleek, sly, comfortable looking tom cat ; 
black, of course, and demure in demeanour ; but always ready 
nevertheless for any emergency. 

He had in his youth learnt in Natal to speak a little English, 
probably from a west country Englishman, for his English, such 
as it was, was pronounced with a strong '' Zummerzetsheer " 
accent. He had, of course, a numerous progeny, and his eldest 
son, Voerman (a Dutch name), was a faithful copy of his 
father except in the one item of portliness of person. Father 
and son used to quarrel one day, and kiss and make friends the 
next. As neither of them was renowned for his veracity, it was 
sometimes difficult when they quarrelled to get at the truth, and 
I was now and then sorely put to it when they both appealed to 
me to settle their disputes, and decide which was in fault. It 
was said of them that they did speak the truth sometimes ; but 
that was by accident. 

One day there was a furious quarrel between them, which 
resulted in the son summoning his father before the court of the 
Commissioner of the district for the payment of the sum of four 
shillings and threepence, which Voerman declared the old man 
owed him. 

The case was gone into, and the debt clearly proved, and 
Fat Daniel could not deny it. 

' ' Has the defendant any questions to ask before I give 
judgment? " asked the Commissioner. 

'' Yez, Wosshop," answered Daniel. 

" Well, then," said the Commissioner, " ask them at once." 

" Yez, Wosshop," was the rejoinder, '' Yez ; I wants to ahks 
that man there " —pointing to his son — '' I wants to ahks him 
what I bornd him for / '^ 

Loss AND Gain. 


General Progress — Ficksburg — Visit of Mrs. Webb — Death of Mr 
Lacy — His Character — A Hurricane — Personal — Women and Girls cared 
for — Hopeful Outlook. 

The year 1877 was a chequered one, full of light and shadow 
to the Mission. We began it, as I have said, full of hope for the 
future. Our temporary buildings were almost complete, and the 
chapel had been solemnly set apart to the service of God by 
our chief pastor. 

On Easter Eve we baptized our first little batch of converts,, 
four in number : three Basutos and a Zulu. The chapel was 
already too small for the congregations of enquirers and heathen 
who frequented more or less regularly the Sunday services. Sa 
in June we pulled down the partition wall between the mission 
room and the chapel, thereby enlarging the latter by twelve 
feet ; and in lieu of the former we built an oblong hut of raw 
brick and sods, which served for study and reception room. 

Mr. Balfour left us for Sekubu at the end of July, and up to 
the time of his departure S. Saviour's had been responsible for 
fortnightly Sunday services at Ficksburg. This place was our 
nearest Free State village, and is prettily situated under the 
shadow of a spur of the Platbergen, close to the banks of the 
Caledon. These services were in English, and were well attended 
by the handful of English speaking people in the place ; and 
once a month, when the farmers came in from the neighbouring 
homesteads, the church v/as inconveniently crowded. The 
church was, in truth, a very humble building. It was really 
nothing more than two rooms of a not very large cottage 


knocked into one, and had been purchased, and fitted up mainly 
through the efforts of Canon Beckett, who, as Kural Dean of 
that part of the diocese, was responsible for the spiritual over- 
sight of Ficksburg, and did his utmost to provide the scattered 
members of the Church with the ministrations of religion. 

As the work of S. Saviour's began to grow, we found it 
almost impossible to keep up these fortnightly visits to the 
Free State without injury to our own proper duties, and 
accordingly, when Mr. Woodman joined Mr. Balfour at Sekubu, 
it was arranged that these two brethren should make themselves 
responsible for visitations and services both at Ficksburg and 
along the western bank of the Caledon ; and this arrangement 
continued for some years, until the increase of the staff at 
Modder Poort, under Father Douglas, enabled the brotherhood 
to take over the entire charge of the Ficksburg district. 

In September we were cheered by a visit from Mrs. Webb 
and her two little boys. They had come to Basutoland for a 
short holiday, and took to their rough, Robinson Crusoe like life 
in our round huts very kindly. Mrs. Webb, always gentle and 
sympathetic, and full of devotion to the mission cause, had 
suffered of late from the extreme heat and drought of Bloem- 
fontein, and the change to the green slopes and mountain glens 
of Basutoland was grateful to her. Moreover, Thlotse now 
boasted of a skilful and accomplished medical man in the person 
of Dr. Taylor, who had recently been appointed medical officer 
of the Leribe district by the British Government, and had taken 
up his residence on the heights between the Mission Compound 
and that of the Residency . Mrs. Webb and her children stayed 
with us until the first week in November, when she returned to 
Bloemfontein, Mr. Lacy riding with them on the way as far 
as Ficksburg. 

The drift on the Caledon at Ficksburg was in those days a 
break-neck place (it is bad enough even now), and the river was 
known to be treacherous ; but the party crossed it in safety, and 


next morning Mr. Lacy started on his return journey. But 
during the night there had been a good deal of rain near the 
sources of the river, and by the time he arrived on its banks it 
had considerably increased in depth. At such times it was 
barely if at all fordable, and, moreover, the current ran swiftly, 
and was very strong. But Mr. Lacy did not realize the danger. 
He rode into the treacherous stream, and was seen no more. 
This was on the 9th of November. Some white men, working 
in the fields on the banks of the river, had seen him descend 
into the drift, and about two hours afterwards they noticed a 
horse standing, saddled and bridled, without its master on a 
little reach about half a mile distant down the stream. They 
hurried to the spot, and found it to be the horse of our poor 
young friend, who was evidently drowned. How it happened no 
one could tell. I think he must have lost his seat when the 
pony began to swim ; and as there was no one near to help 
him, he was probably whirled onwards to his death by the 
rushing torrent. The horse, more fortunate, after being carried 
some distance down the stream, managed at last to swim out to 
the reach, and remained there patiently waiting for his master, 
until noticed by the labourers on the farm above. 

The sad tidings did not reach us until late in the afternoon, 
and meanwhile the men who noticed the pony had been searching 
diligently, but in vain, for the body. Hastily our horses were 
got in from the veldt and saddled, and Dr. Taylor, Mr. Charles 
Bell, and myself, accompanied by some of the Native Mounted 
Police, reached the scene of the misadventure just before dusk. 
The men were still searching for the body, but as yet no trace of 
its whereabouts could be found. The river was still rising very 
rapidly, and nothing more could be done that night ; so all that 
we could do was to return sorrowfully home. Next day, and for 
several days afterwards, the good Ficksburg people and their 
neighbours continued their efforts. The Caledon had now begun 
to run down, which made the search easier, and on the fifth 


(When a Chorister in London), 


day after the accident the body was found. It was discovered 
in the overhanging branches of a willow tree about a mile 
below the drift, having been thus caught, and its onward pro- 
gress arrested, while the tree was still under water. It was 
very much bruised and disfigured, and partly decomposed, but 
it was nevertheless taken to the mission station and buried there, 
making the first grave in the but recently enclosed cemetery. 
Mr. Lacy's death was a great blow to the Mission. He 
was a young man of much promise, and had given his whole life 
to the work. He came to the diocese when only sixteen years 
of age, having been sent out to Modder Poort by an English 
friend of Canon Beckett's (the Eev. C. Gutch, of London), who 
had educated and trained him from boyhood, and carefully 
fostered the missionary spirit which he displayed. He possessed 
exactly the qualifications necessary in a successful mission 
worker: a powerful physique, robust health, a receptive mind, 
an aptitude for learning foreign languages, a good baritone voice, 
a love of school work and of children, plenty of patience, a fair 
amount of common sense, and a willingness to *' endure hard- 
ness as the soldier of Christ." At the time of his death he was 
reading for Holy Orders, expecting to be ordained to the Mission 
in the following year. He seemed to be specially fitted for the 
work he had entered upon — quite the right man in the right 
place — and now, in the mysterious working of Providence, he 
was suddenly snatched away just at the moment that he was 
most needed. So it has often been in the history of the Church, 
and we must be content to wait for the explanation of the 
'' why" and the ^' wherefore" of God's dealings with His people 
until the great day of the unveiling of all things, when all will 
be made clear, and when we shall see as well as know that 

''All that God does, it is well done." 

I had known my young comrade for six years, the last two of 
which we had spent side by side, first at Thaba 'Nchu, and then 


at Thlotse. Having been thus intimately associated with him, 
I can testify to his goodness, and I have no hesitation in saying 
that he was one of the purest minded and most devoted young men 
that I have ever known. To the purity of a child was in his case 
added the strength and endurance of a man. His special work 
at S. Saviour's was that of the school, to build up which he 
worked with unwearied patience and perseverance ; and his 
bright, playful manner and loving disposition endeared him to 
all who came into contact with him. He was by birth a Londoner, 
and used often to amuse us by his Cockney way of looking at 
1;hings. I remember that when he first caught sight of the 
Malutis, and saw them in all their glory — their lofty peaks 
lighted up into the most gorgeous colours by the glow of the 
setting sun — he exclaimed in his simple, playful way, " How 
beautiful they are ! They remind me of those lovely silk dresses 
•arranged side by side on stands, in their flowing folds, at Peter 
Robinson's in Oxford Street ! " Surely no one but a Cockney 
could have been guilty of perpetrating such a simile ! 

Peace be with thee, guileless one, so early called away to 
thy reward ! In thy short life thou hast '' fulfilled a long time," * 
and taught us by thy sweet and pure example how best to labour 
in the Master's vineyard, with a single eye to the Master's glory, 
and the salvation of the souls so dearly purchased by His most 
Precious Blood. 

A few days after Mr. Lacy's funeral there was a terrific 
hurricane, which did much damage to all kinds of buildings in 
many parts of the country. The little chapel did not escape its 
violence. It was unroofed, the rafters broken in pieces, and the 
sheets of galvanised iron rolled up like so much paper, and 
whirled away to a considerable distance in the veldt. Fortunately 
no one was hurt, it being night when the storm was at its height 
and the mischief done. In the morning we found the timbers 
strewn about in splinters, and the poor building did look such a 

* Wisdom of Solomon iv. 13. 


wreck ! I had feared from the first that such a roof would 
not stand the force of our north-westers. These winds usually- 
set in from the Kalahari Desert, blowing up clouds of dust, and 
accumulating in force on their onward sweep until finally they 
spend their fury at the base of the Drakensbergen. But it is 
only occasionally — say, once in three or four years — that they 
put forth all their strength. I had hoped that the roof might 
stand until we were able to put up a stronger one, but it was 
gone now past repair. There was nothing for it but to provide 
a new one, and that as soon as possible. And how was that to 
be done ? Such a roof as the building required would cost at 
least £120, and as the diocesan funds were low we could expect 
no help from that quarter. But our people came bravely to the 
rescue. Led by our devoted friend, Mr. Eichards, they all came 
forward — Europeans and native Christians — and speedily raised 
a sutficient sum to enable us to put up a strongly-tied and sub- 
stantial pitched roof of the best galvanised iron, which has stood 
firmly, and resisted all attacks of wind and storm from that day 
to this. Meanwhile, we held our daily services and classes in 
one of the huts, and the school and Sunday services in the open 
air in a corner of the compound. 

At the end of November I married, and my wife, on her 
arrival at Thlotse, began at once to interest herself in the welfare 
of the native women and girls. No woman's influence had 
hitherto been brought to bear upon them ; and now that they 
saw a Christian gentlewoman visiting them in their homes, sym- 
pathising with them in their dijBSculties, and rejoicing with them 
in their joys, their hearts went out to her at once. A sewing 
class was formed for the young girls, at which they learned to 
make simple cotton dresses and other garments for themselves^ 
and they made good progress in the work. Then, too, our boy 
boarders were cared for as only a woman can care for them, and 
these small savages promptly responded to the care and guidance 
bestowed upon them. In a few months their rough and repulsive 


habits were softened down, and they became amenable to dis- 
cipline and cleanly in their persons. In a word, they were 

At the end of 1877 all looked hopeful. Catechumens came in, 
the school (now conducted mainly by myself until a successor to 
Mr. Lacy should arrive from England) increased in numbers, 
the services were hearty and well attended, the women and girls 
cared for, and the chapel thoroughly repaired and strengthened 
with its new and firmly-fastened roof. Seed was being sowed 
which, please God, would spring up and bear abundant fruit in 
time to come. 


Via Crucis. 


Easter — Native Singing — Native Sense of Beauty — Atmospheric 
Phenomena — Another Visit from Mr. Blayney Balfour — Proposal for a 
Native Training College — Death of Mrs. Widdicombe. 

Easter 1878 marked a new advance. A little band of converts had 
been gathered together, among whom were several boys with good 
voices, and these were formed for the first time into a choir. 
That Easter Eve service was a very bright one, and the boys 
and men — there were ten of the former and two of the latter — 
looked really nice in their cassocks and surplices, and sang the 
Sesuto Evensong very heartily, and in good time and tune. 
Natives always do sing heartily — so heartily that they often get 
carried away by excitement — and then, if they are not checked, 
they will go on to shout, scream, and even yell as only savages 
can. Most of them have good voices, but they easily flatten, 
especially in chanting. Hence they require to be always well 


led, and that if possible by a European with a good baritone 
voice, if the proper pitch is to be duly sustained for any length 
of time. I have noticed that very few good tenors are to be 
found amongst them ; but really good, deep, rich basses are by 
no means uncommon. Among the women the contraltos, too, 
are as a rule superior to the sopranos. Perhaps this may be 
partly accounted for by their language, which is emphatically a 
chest one, the broad, resonant A and E being of frequent occur- 
rence in it. Men, women, and children easily learn to sing simple 
melodies and pieces in the tonic sol-fa notation, but they rarely 
succeed in rendering accidentals with any degree of nicety. 
They are passionately fond of hymn tunes, especially the more 
solid compositions in '^ Hymns Ancient and Modern," and " pick 
them up " as quickly as English people ; indeed, it is now quite 
a common thing to hear the Christian herd-boys in the valleys 
round the heights singing in two parts many of the standard 
hymn tunes in our English hymnals. Some of these — such, for 
instance, as Sullivan's *' Onward, Christian Soldiers " — are 
special favourites, and are taken up with a swing and verve 
which would astonish a stranger, more especially were he told 
that the singers were only a few years ago barbarians with but 
the faintest and most rudimentary ideas of music, and with no 
conception whatever of European compositions. 

The native in his natural state has no appreciation of the 
beautiful in nature. I was going to add in art likewise ; but 
perhaps that would hardly be fair, considering thd immense 
pains the young girls take in the adornment of their persons 
with beads and bangles. These braveries are often arranged 
with a certain natural grace, and great taste is sometimes ex- 
hibited in the selection of the colours of the beads which are 
used for collars and other personal ornaments ; but of the 
beauties of nature, as we are accustomed to understand the 
term, they seem to have no conception. *^ A thing of beauty " 
is not to the native '^ a joy for ever." 


When we first began to decorate the church at Christmas 
and Easter our people could not comprehend what we were 
doing, or why we were doing it. But gradually the sense of 
beauty, which is latent in every man, was called out in them, 
and this was, of course, especially marked in the case of the 
converts. We have planted from time to time in the mission 
garden not only many varieties of European and African flowers, 
but also a number of flowering trees and shrubs, most of which 
are unknown in the Lesuto. Heathen natives often come to 
feast their eyes upon these strange and foreign productions, and, 
after contemplating them for some time in silence, they invariably 
break out with *' Monere, what is this tree good for? Is its 
fruit venj delicious to the taste ? " I answer that it does not 
bear any fruit. *' Then it must be a medicine tree? Is its 
medicine very potent ? Will it cure many kinds of disease ? " 
I answer again, '' No, it is not a medicine tree. As far as I 
know, it produces nothing that can be used as medicine." 
**Baesu!" is the exclamation ;'* why then do you plant it? 
What is the use of it ? It must be good for something." I 
reply that it is a beautiful tree to look at, and that it bears 
beautiful flowers. We planted it, I say, for khabiso — ornament. 
For '' khabiso feela " — '* ornament only ? " — say they. *' Yes, for 
ornament only. It gladdens our eyes, and makes us think of 
the goodness and beauty of God." 

A grunt of doubtful approbation is the answer, which, put 
into plain words, would be interpreted thus : — '* What an ex- 
traordinary being the white man is ! He actually expends time, 
labour, and money upon a tree which is of no earthly use to 
him ! It is a barren cow ; it yields him no milk ; a useless 
cumberer of the earth, for it gives him no medicine. It does not 
even supply him with his tobacco, and perhaps its leaves would 
poison him if he attempted to smoke them. Prodigious ! Who 
ever heard of a human being planting a tree merely to look at ! 
Monere says he has not even planted it for fuel : it grows there, 


this curious tree, merely to be looked at ! Verily, the white 
man is an inscrutable being. We thought him wise, but he 
seems to be only a simpleton after all ! " 

Yet they go away and ponder over it, and in the end come to 
the conclusion that, no doubt, there must be something in it. 
As for the Christians, they soon learn to appreciate beauty, and 
many of them come from time to time to ask for rootlets or 
cuttings of flowers, especially of bold or showy ones, which they 
carefully plant in their sempa, near their huts, and learn to value 
as time goes on. Nearly all the converts now take the greatest 
interest in church decoration, some of them regularly sending us 
the produce of their flower-beds for the purpose. 

They are great admirers of colour, and greatly prize the 
oleographs and coloured prints which form the supplements to 
the Illustrated London News and the Graphic, and which we 
distribute to them when the annual mission box from friends at 
home yields up its treasures. They nail up the prints on the 
walls of their huts, and the rondavels of some of our Christians 
are almost papered with them. Of course, we do all we can to 
foster the sense of beauty among the people, but we do not forget 
to supply them with the useful as well as the beautiful. Every 
year we give away large numbers of young peach and other 
fruit-trees, besides cuttings and seeds of flowers and shrubs. 

The year 1878 was celebrated for its meteors. Magnificent 
meteoric displays are often seen in Basutoland, especially in the 
months of July and November. For hours together the sky is 
lit up at night by an almost continuous succession of the most 
brilliant rockets — for so they seem to be — varied at intervals by 
sJiowers of shooting stars. These aerolites fall in great numbers 
in the mountains, and I well remember being awakened one 
night m the July of this year by the sound of a violent ex- 
plosion — a tremendous crash — in the Malutis right in front of 
our station. I rushed out of the hut just in time to witness 
a most beautiful sight. The heavens were ablaze with meteors, 


one of which had just fallen upon a huge crag, thus causing the 
report we had heard. Almost every person in the place was 
roused by the concussion, and some of the women ran about 
outside their huts screaming with fright ; when suddenly the 
voice of the native sentry rang out clear and full from the watch- 
tower in the distance, '' All's Wool ! " 

It was probably the only English he knew, and he was 
determined to make the most of it. The effect was irresistible. 

I remember also another and still more remarkable instance 
of these natural pyrotechnic displays. It happened some years 
afterwards, and was witnessed by Mr. Champernowne, one of my 
colleagues, as well as myself, as we were riding together to the 
village of Ficksburg. It took place not at night, but in the 
middle of the day. It wanted but a few minutes to twelve 
o'clock ; the sky was without a cloud, and the sun blazing down 
upon us in all his noonday splendour : in fact, the day was a 
thoroughly African one. As we were riding along on the great 
flat between the Khomokoana and the Caledon, our attention was 
suddenly arrested by an unusual light in the sky above us. We 
reined in our horses and stood still to look upon the most 
astonishing sight we had ever beheld. The sun was at its zenith 
to the north of us, and about midway between it and the Malutis 
there appeared a succession of rapid coruscations of dazzling 
brightness ; ribands of fire came into view, were unrolled, shaken 
out, and consumed like burning scrolls ; bands of light were seen 
for a moment, and then lost to the eye ; chains of flames — as of 
glowing, molten gold in a furnace — burst upon the vision, were 
swallowed up, and disappeared from sight. The brilliancy of 
this wonderful display quite obscured the light of the noonday 
sun ; an African sun, too, be it remembered. It lasted several 
seconds ; how many I cannot say ; for we were so overwhelmed 
with astonishment that we forgot to take out our watches and 
count them. We remained for some minutes riveted to the spot 
in sheer amazement, reminding each other of what Josephus 



relates concerning the portents that appeared over Jerusalem 
before its final destruction. After such a sight as we had then 
witnessed we could easily believe the testimony of the historian 
without having recourse to miracle in explanation of it. 

On arriving at Ficksburg we found that all the people in the 
streets at the time saw the same remarkable display, and next 
day we heard that just after we had witnessed it several large 
fragments of aerolites had fallen in the mountains behind 
Sekubu, about forty miles distant. I have often in Africa seen 
many remarkable natural phenomena, but none to equal in 
splendour or magnificence the spectacle which on that occasion 
was presented to our view. 

In the Easter-tide of this year we received a second visit 
from Mr. Blayney Balfour, who, after leaving us the year before, 
had volunteered to fill a gap at Bloemfontein, by taking the 
tutorship of some natives there, who were desirous of being 
trained for Church work. He came to us now for a period of 
three or four months before returning to England, and during 
this time was good enough to help us both in our services and 
schools. The evening school for the men was a work which 
specially commended itself to him, and the patience with which 
he plodded away, night^after night, in teaching a number of half- 
witted and half-naked savages to master b, si~ha, and spell out 
the simplest words of their own language, was in itself a valuable 
lesson in mission work. Now and then he and his sable pupils 
rose to higher flights. Some of the men, chiefly those of the 
Native Mounted Police, wished to learn English, the most 
difficult of all tongues to the native. He can generally manage 
to '' pick up" Cape Dutch in some sort of way if he makes a 
real, honest attempt to do so, but English is at once his hope 
and his despair. 

To see half-a-dozen of these stalwart sons of Africa resolutely 
attacking the short, monosyllabic sentences in Nelson's '' Step 
by Step;" to hear them shouting out with intense earnestness 


and gravity, '' De okkies gan nod go indo de bokkies/' was toa 
much for mortal man ! The teacher would smile softly to 
himself; and the class, catching the expression of his face, 
would burst out into a violent explosion of laughter. But 
nothing daunted, the next man would gird himself to the attack, 
determined to do or die. Spearing his enemy in the battle-field 
was a light thing to him, but demonstrating to his fellow-men 
that '' the ox cannot go into the box" was a painful and all but 
impossible task to both brain and tongue. '' Gan de okkies go 
indo de bokkies ?" he would indignantly demand, with screwed- 
up mouth, contorted visage, and eyeballs staring out of their 
sockets. Then, with a violent shake of the head which suggested 
a terrier and a rat, he would return to the attack and exclaim 
triumphantly, ** yaw, de okkies gan nod go indo de bokkies." 

The effort was prodigious. The pent-up feelings would find 
relief in a deep and prolonged sigh, the face would be bathed in 
a profuse perspiration, and a general roar of laughter all round 
would for the moment end the scene. 

Yes, night-school with raw natives was often great tun. To 
a refined, cultivated layman, fresh from an English university, 
this must have been a novel experience indeed ! Our friend 
entered into it with ardour, and I have no doubt often smiles 
when he looks back upon that brief but brilliant African 

The two years I had been in the country had taught me 
more and more plainly that if the Mission was to prosper and 
do its appointed work, it would ere long be absolutely necessary 
to train up the native converts to take a large share in it them- 
selves. But so much had to be thought of for the Europeans in 
the diocese, if they were not to be lost altogether to the Church ; 
so many institutions had to be set on foot for the education of 
their sons and daughters, that it had been impossible for the 
Bishop to establish anything like a training institution for our 
converts, either at S. Saviour's or elsewhere in the diocese. 


Hence we were without any means of educating and preparing 
such converts as might show a vocation for work among their 
fellow-countrymen as evangelists, catechists, or schoolmasters. 
We had absolutely no machinery for the purpose, and yet the 
need was great and pressing, and increasing day by day. It 
could, indeed, be partially supplied by sending such young men 
as might show an aptitude for the work of evangelization to the 
training colleges at Grahamstown or Capetown, but this was an 
expensive and cumbrous proceeding, and we mission clergy all felt 
that our diocese ought to have a training institution of its own. 

I ventured to write to the Bishop to set this need before 
him, and received a most sympathetic reply. In truth, his lord- 
ship was as keenly alive to the situation as any of his mission 
clergy could be, and promised to aid me in any way that lay in. 
his power should I be able to propound some workable scheme, 
whereby an institution for the training of native catechists 
could be established, the outcome of which might be, as time 
went on, if God so willed it, a native ministry — the greatest 
need of all. But he was unable to promise any pecuniary help, 
the diocese being already heavily freighted with the important 
works that had been set on foot in Bloemfontein for the- 

Then I sounded the Government, knowing their liberality to 
schools and other educational agencies for the native races. The- 
Basutoland executive were willing to make an annual grant 
towards the support and education of native students in a 
training college, provided that suitable buildings could be erected^ 
a competent teacher appointed, and the secular studies such as 
met the requirements of the Educational Department. This 
seemed hopeful, and was indeed all that could be reasonably 
expected. But where was the money to come from ? Students 
we could get ; I had no doubt of that. But how were a 
''suitable building" and a '* competent teacher" to be 
provided ? 


I took counsel with my brethren at Sekubu. Mr. Balfour 
and Mr. Woodman came down to S. Saviour's, and after an early 
celebration of the Holy Communion and united prayer for 
guidance, all three of us went down after breakfast to the banks 
of the Thlotse, and there talked the problem out. A scheme 
was propounded which will be explained hereafter, by means 
of which a native training college was to be established at 
Thlotse, with the sanction and approval of the Bishop, and the 
education and training of a limited number of lads secured. 

But God in His Providence ordered it otherwise. Through 
unforeseen and unexpected circumstances our plans came to 
nought, and the desired institution is still a thing of the 
future, though, as may be imagined, the necessity for it is ten- 
fold greater now than it was in 1878. I am not, however, 
without hope that in the near future this long felt want may be 
supplied, the present Bishop of the diocese being as anxious 
as his predecessor to wipe away such a long standing reproach 
from the Church. 

The immediate cause of the frustration of our hopes was an 
event as sudden and unlooked for as it was calamitous and full of 

On the morning of the 9th November, the anniversary of 
Mr. Lacy's death, Mrs. Widdicombe was taken to her eternal 
xest, after giving birth to a little daughter. 

Even at this distance of time I hardly dare to trust myself 
"to write of it ; nor would it be desirable, either for my readers or 
myself, that such a personal bereavement should be intruded 
upon their notice more than is absolutely necessary to the 
purposes of this narrative. 

Of the event itself I will only say that all that medical skill 
could do was done, but that it availed nothing. A few minutes, 
and all was over. The light of my eyes had gone from me, 
never more to return. The blow stunned me by its awful 
^suddenness. There was not in it even the short respite given to 


the prophet : '' Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the 
desire of thine eyes with a stroke .... So I spake unto 
the people in the morning : and at even my wife died.'"^ 

But the All Merciful One showed mercy upon me in that 
hour of desolation, or I should utterly have fainted. My dear 
brother priest, Mr. Balfour, came and stayed at S. Saviour's as 
long as was possible, and both by word and deed did all that 
man could do to comfort and sustain ; and the little orphaned 
babe found a mother in tender-hearted, sympathising Mrs. Bell, 
whose continued care and kindness I shall never be able to 

Of the lamentations of the people at the loss of the *' mother " 
who had endeared herself to them I will say nothing. It will 
be better imagined than described. 

But I may perhaps be permitted to print the following 
extracts from two letters that were written at the time, and 
published soon afterwards, in the '* Bloemfontein Quarterly 
Paper." The first is from one written by the Bishop. 

' ' You will all mourn with me over the sad tidings of Mrs. Widdicombe's 
death. So much of the work at her husband's mission station seemed to 
depend upon her presence and personal help, and she had thrown herself so 
entirdy into it, winning the hearts of the native women and girls in a 
wonderful way. She had previously, as you know, done a good and faithful 
work at S. Michael's Home for four years. God called her away on the 
anniversary of the date of Mr. Lacy's death, to pray for the Mission in 
Paradise ; surely not meaning otherwise than to put His blessing upon the 
work ; giving it the promise of victory by the * corn of wheat ' so falling 
into the ground and dying, and therefore not abiding alone." 

The other is from a letter by the Rev. Francis Balfour. 

' ' I cannot believe that God should have taken away two such pure, 
devoted, self-denying, active lives so soon after the beginning of Church work 

* Ezekielxxiv. 16, 18. 


here, without intending to send some great blessing down some day upon us. 
He may be angry with us as a body for having neglected this work so long. 
He may wish to test our faith, and the mettle we are made of. He may 
wish to see if Christians who hitherto have helped us will persevere in spite 
of these afflictions. I cannot tell, but of this I feel quite confident, that the 
corns of wheat which have fallen into the ground and died will bear much 
fruit, and that the united prayers of these devoted souls will receive their 
promised answer from the throne above." 

For a time it seemed impossible that I could stay on at 
Thlotse. The bright hopes of years had been quenched in a 
moment : the happiness of life blotted out. 

'' But it is written : The eternal God is thy refuge, and 

underneath are the everlasting arms."* God in His mercy gave 

me grace to take this comfort to my soul, and to say — fearfully 

it might be, and perhaps falteringly — yet not, I hope, without 

something of truth and reality, ''Not my will, but Thine, be 


Though, like the wanderer, 

The sun gone down, 
Darkness comes over me. 

My rest a stone, 
Yet in my dreams I'd be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 

Nearer to Thee. 

Then, with my waking thoughts 

Bright with Thy praise. 

Out of my stony griefs 

Beth-el I'll raise ; 

So by my woes to be 

Nearer, my God, to Thee, 
Nearer to Thee. 

* Deuteronomy xxxiii. 27. 


New Wokkers. 

Isantlana — Arrival of New Workers — New Compound — Laying the 
foundation Stone of the Training College — The Morosi Campaign — An 
Important Pitso — Second Visit of the Bishop — Letters Describing the 
Work of the Mission. 

January, 1879, saw the advance of a large British force into 
Zuhiland under Lord Chelmsford, and on the 24th of that month 
a report reached us through native runners that *' all the 
soldiers of the Queen of England had been cut to pieces by the 
Zulus at Isandhlwana," or, as the Basutos pronounce it, 
Isantlana. We were amazed as well as horrified at the report ; 
the more so that no such news had reached us through any white 
source, though we ought to have known that the native intelligence 
department is usually wonderfully well-managed and efficient. 
Indeed, considering the multifarious appliances of European 
armies, it is astonishing how the African contrives to hold his 
own in this respect, often successfully competing with the white 
man in the rapid transmission of news, notwithstanding all the 
superior advantages of the latter. A few days afterwards the 
tidings, as sad as they were astounding, were almost literally 
<5onfirmed by a Free State newspaper. 

Isantlana was only three days' journey from us by the short 
cuts through the mountains, though I had never heard of the 
place before. Dreadful as the news was, we had no reason to 
fear that it might have a disquieting effect upon the Basutos. 
The Zulu monarchs, from Chaka onwards, had been such tyrants, 
and their hands so often imbrued with blood, that they were 


hated as well as feared by our people ; and numbers of Zulu 
refugees had from thue to time, as the reader knows, found 
shelter in the Lesuto, especially in our own district of Leribe. 
Furthermore, the Government officials had in detention at the 
Thlotse magistracy at that very time four of Cetywayo's secret 
ambassadors to the Basuto chiefs, who had been sent by their 
master to endeavour to persuade them to join with him in 
resisting the British power. But these emissaries never 
succeeded in getting further south than Thlotse, Molapo having 
privately informed Major Bell of their arrival at Leribe and of 
the object of it, advising him to detain them as persons dangerous 
to the peace of the tribe. This the Major accordingly did, 
promptly but quietly, while they were on their way to Letsie, 
suspecting nothing, and hopeful of the success of their mission. 
They were detained for some months at the magistracy, kindly 
treated, and, when the danger was over, after the victory at 
Ulundi, set free. They were in no hurry to depart, and one of 
them elected to stay permanently at Thlotse rather than return 
to a home convulsed, as Zululand then was, with anarchy and 

Even had Cetywayo's messengers succeeded in reaching 
Matsieng and getting the ear of the Paramount Chief, it is very 
unlikely that he would have listened favourably to their master's 
message. He was too old a fox to be caught in such a trap as 
that, and if the truth were told, rejoiced in his inmost heart at 
the prospect of the Zulu king being humbled and reduced to 
submission by the power of England. But the news of the 
disaster at Isantlana astounded the Basutos, as well it might. 
Humanly speaking such a catastrophe ought never to have 
happened, and, judging from experience, it could not have 
taken place if only the waggons had been lagered in the usual 
Boer fashion. The fact that they were not, and that by their 
recklessness or their neglect the English commanders allowed 
their soldiers to be cut to pieces, astonished the Basutos in the 


highest degree, and tended to lower the prestige of the British 
army in their eyes. 

In Lent two new workers arrived from England. These were 
the Eev. E. K. Champernowne, recently ordained to the priest- 
hood, and his sister. Miss M. E. Champernowne. They had 
come out to the Mission as permanent workers, free of charge in 
any way to the diocese, and full of devotion to the good cause. 
Not long afterwards I had the additional pleasure of welcoming 
another worker, Mr. M. A. Reading, who came to us from S. 
Boniface College, Warminster, as a candidate for Holy Orders. 
Mr. Reading naturally took the place of my first catechist, Mr. 
Lacy, making the school his special work, and assisting in the 
services, especially on Sundays, as far as possible. 

Mr. Champernowne had come out as chaplain to the projected 
native training college, and his sister had volunteered to 
accompany him as housekeeper and matron of the institution ; 
but as our original plans could no longer be carried out in their 
entirety, a modification of them had become a necessity should 
the attempt be made to set the training college on foot. 
Accordingly we all took ^ counsel together, and the result of 
our deliberations was that Mr. Champernowne was to endeavour 
to raise funds for the college ; and that, should the proposed 
institution ever become an accomplished fact, he and his sister 
together were to take the entire charge and management of it. 
Meanwhile, he was to be licensed as an assistant curate at S. 
Saviour's, and 1, as head of the Mission, was to apply to the 
Government for a small grant of land for the projected institu- 
tion. This I forthwith did, with the result that a new com- 
pound not far off on the southern slope of the heights was 
generously made over to us for the purpose. 

Some of Mr. Champernowne's English friends eagerly caught 
at the idea of a native training institution, and did their utmost 
to collect money for building purposes ; and in July the ground 
was enclosed and laid out, and plans procured for a suitable 


building. The Bishop, it is needless to say, entered warmly 
into the proposal, only too glad to see a prospect of our idea being 
carried out ; and in September the foundation stone of the new 
institution was laid by Mrs. Bell, who had now become quite a 
*' mother in Israel." Many natives were present on the occa- 
sion, and the clergy and choir went in procession to the 
compound, singing Sesuto hymns on the way. A brightly 
rendered and appropriate service followed, and, after the stone 
was duly laid, Major Bell, in his official capacity of Resident, 
addressed the natives, especially the men, pointing out to them 
the utility and value of the institution now being founded, and 
telling them that it was being built for the benefit of them- 
selves and their children. They might not be able now at once 
to see its advantages, but if they listened to the teachers that 
had been sent to them they would become wiser and better men, 
and would rejoice that such a school of training, instruction, and 
discipline had been founded in their midst. He hoped that this 
school might be the means of leading many of their sons to 
higher things, and of training them in habits of industry, 
sobriety, and those other virtues necessary for the work to which 
they might be called. 

Alas, that these hopes never became a reality ! The building 
-which was begun with such high expectations was destined, as 
we shall see, never to be completed. 

The Basutos had now enjoyed under British protection more 
than ten years of peace and prosperity. The protection of the 
British crown had not only secured to them an immunity from 
the attacks of foreign foes, but had also enabled them to live 
at peace among themselves. Cattle raiding had ceased, crime 
had diminished, Christianity was making way in the country, 
education was extending, industrial pursuits were regarded 
with favour, n-ew land was being brought under the plough 
or the mattock year by year, when suddenly a small cloud 
arose in the south which proved to be the precursor of a 


violent storm which was to rage throughout and ravage the 
whole country. 

It will be remembered that about half a century before 
Moshesh had conquered the Baphuti, a tribe living in the 
Quiteng district, at the south-eastern corner of the Lesuto ; and 
that they and their chief, Morosi, became henceforth the subjects 
of the '' Chief of the Mountain." These Baphuti were reported 
to be growing restive, and giving the Government officials a 
good deal of trouble. Morosi was now a very old man, and was 
practically in the hands of his son Dodo, a turbulent individual 
who was perpetually seeking opportunities to ''ikhansa" ; that 
is to " vapour " or *^ show off,'' as the natives say. This conduct 
culminated one day in the early part of the year (1879) by his 
openly defying his magistrate. This, of course, could not be 
tolerated, and the obnoxious chief, together with some of his 
principal aiders and abettors, was fined and imprisoned. But 
she imprisonment was not rigorous, and the prison was a very 
different structure from that which an Englishman usually 
understands by the name. It was a mere rickety '' shanty," 
and Dodo had little or no difficulty in making his escape from it. 
Indeed, it was currently asserted, with I know not what amount 
of truth, that he and his friends had escaped rather ivith the gaol 
than from it — carrying away their place of detention bodily with 
them ! 

The Baphuti, now in open revolt, fled to their stronghold, 
** Morosi's Mountain," one of the flat-topped hills of the country, 
and the Colonial Government called upon the Basutos, through 
Col. Griffith, the Governor's Agent at Maseru, to take up arms 
against them, and reduce them to submission. The Basuto 
chiefs promptly responded to the call, and in April Morosi's 
stronghold was stormed, but without success, by a combined 
force of Colonial troops and Basuto levies. 

Then followed a weary siege, which lasted till November, 
when those of the Baphuti who still remained upon the mountain 


were finally starved out, and the stronghold taken. Morosi was 
killed in the last fight on the top of the mountain ; but Dodo 
and some others escaped to the inner fastnesses of the Quiteng. 

Previous to the capture of this stronghold, a Pitso of great 
importance was held at Maseru on October 16th, at which Mr. 
Sprigg (now Sir Gordon Sprigg), the Premier of the Cape 
Ministry, was present. A Disarmament Act had recently been 
passed by the Cape Parliament, and it was proposed that its 
provisions should be extended to Basutoland, and made binding 
upon the Basuto people, who were now under the direct rule of 
the Colonial Government. The Premier's message was a very 
unwelcome one to both chiefs and people, and led to results 
which in all probability were little anticipated either by the 
Governor or his Ministers. No definite action on the part of 
the Government immediately followed the Pitso, and meanwhile 
the year 1879 drew to a close. 

In the April of the next year we and our people were cheered 
and strengthened by a second visit from our chief pastor. The 
Bishop came to us on Saturday, April 24th, attended by Canon 
Crisp as Rural Dean and Chaplain. Canon Crisp wrote an 
account of their visit, which afterwards appeared in the pages of 
the Quarterly Paper of the diocese, and from it I take the 
following extracts as tending to show the impression which 
S. Saviour's made upon an able and experienced mission 
priest : — 

' • Thlotse is such a charming station. It is the seat of a magistracy, and 
is situate on a plain at the top of a hill. On the east one gets a grand view 
of the Malutis, with their picturesque peaks and constant variations of light 
and shade. In the valley below the Thlotse river runs amid fields of maize 
and millet to its junction with the Caledon, about half a mile off. Mr. 
Widdicombe's school-chapel of S. Saviour's, at the south-eastern comer of 
the oblong piece of ground allotted to the Mission, looks into his garden, 
which, though little more than three years old, abounds with young trees, 
choice roses, and other flowers and shrubs. The bell rang for Evensong soon 
after we arrived. It was sung very heartily by the native choir in Sesuto, 


and when it was over we adjourned to Mr. Champemowne's compound for 
supper, Mr. Widdicombe staying behind to prepare the Christians for the 
morrow's Communion. 

*' On Sunday morning (4:th after Easter) the Bishop celebrated the Holy 
Communion in the little mission chapel. The service was choral, and one 
feature in it was very delightful ; both Europeans and natives joined in it as 
one people. The service was in English, except the Gospel and the Confes- 
sion, which were read in both languages, while the hymns used were Sesuto ; 
but the little dark-skinned choristers were quite au fait with the English 
parts, and sang out the Kyrie, or said the Creed, as well as if they had been 
in Sesuto. 

*' At 9.30 a short form of Matins was sung in Sesuto, after which the 
Bishop preached to the people by means of an interpreter. The whole 
country around the station is densely crowded, and with few exceptions the 
people are heathen. The work is indeed an uphill one, needing the utmost 
patience and courage. All that can be done at present is a quiet laying of 
foundations, and this is what is being done in a very thorough way at 
S. Saviour's. The natives are being regularly visited at their villages ; the 
schools are punctually assembled and most diligently taught ; classes for the 
instruction of the converts are held ; translations are being prepared ; the 
daily services are carefully rendered ; and in this way, while the life of the 
Church is brought constantly before the people, an earnest preparation is 
being made for the future. 

' * The Service was followed at eleven by English Matins with the Litany, 
and a sermon from the Bishop. The European work at Thlotse is a very 
striking and admirable one. The large trade in grain has attracted many 
traders, and these, with the Government officials, form a considerable com- 
munity. Many of the first named were, before their residence in Basutoland, 
members of one or another form of dissent. The patient work of the 
Church among them is bringing these one by one within her fold. One marks 
at Thlotse, with great thankfulness, an absence of that lethargy which too 
often characterizes Churchmen living in scattered numbers. . It is most 
cheering to see the European members of the congregation riding in from 
distances of ten and twelve miles to the Sunday services. 

"In the afternoon Evensong was sung in Sesuto, and a sermon preached 
especially to the Christians. English Evensong with a sermon closed a busy, 
happy day." 

On the Monday there were two Confirmations held, one in 
Sesuto, and the other in English. At these services eight 


native converts and eleven Europeans received the Apostolic 
rite, the services being heartily rendered, and the chapel 
crowded to the doors. 

"I have spoken of the mission garden; but there is another httle 
garden without a mention of which no notice of Thlotse would be complete. 
Half way between S. Saviour's and Mr. Champernowne's is the enclosure of 
the two graves which mark the resting-place of the dear ones whose memory 
seems to cast a constant blessing over the Mission and all its surroundings. 
There lies the dear, pure-minded lad whose brave young heart was such a 
blessing to the priest he served in the very first days of the work, and whose 
name even now brings a glad look into the face of every native who knew 
and loved him. And by his side lies the gentle lady, taken away ere her 
first year had come to an end, but not before her influence had been felt on 
all around, and the native women had come to look upon her as a mother. " 

A portion of a letter from Mr. Heading, describing his daily 
work in the school, may fitly close this chapter. 

"S. Saviour's, Thlotse Heights, 19th June, 1880. 

•'The children are very fond of reading. I think they like poetry 
more than prose. I suppose one may account for this, since they have 
musical ears, and therefore quickly detect the rhythm. There is with them 
an eagerness to read. They have a keen sense of the comical, and quickly 
notice anything in the way of a joke. Small things seem to try their risible 
faculties most. If a fly alights upon their book it is a great matter ; they 
seem to imagine that the little creature is trying to read, and finds it a 
puzzler 1 A spider hanging from its web is too much for them ; they can- 
not think how it manages to stick to the fine thread ; and, when it ascends, 
a host of absurd ideas seem to pass through their brains. They cannot 
govern themselves in the least. If a thing strikes them as funny they make 
it a matter of conscience to laugh, and laugh they will. 

' ' At the end of the reading lesson some little time is spent in translating. 
They are very fond of this also. Perhaps one boy may give a rendering 
which in the opinion of another is not altogether classical, and then follows 
a tug of war. I always allow, in moderation, a free discussion about any 
word which is called into question. This not only helps them to think, but 
it brings their English into play, makes them examine their own language, 
and teaches them how to reason with each other without losing their tempers. 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 133 

They, of course, find it more difficult to translate Sesuto into English than 
the contrary. 

" Trying to get them to define things is no easy task. They cannot 
think why they should be asked to define a certain thing. In their minds 
it is quite clear that the thing in question is ivhatit is simply. A slate is 
a slate, sugar is sugar, and so on ; though one small boy ventured the other 
day, when pressed, to say that a waggon was ' a case going on legs.' A still 
smaller youth vouchsafed the information that ' a horse was a big thing, 
bigger than a goat, like a horse. ' A third, an older lad, made it his duty 
to enlighten his younger friends by telling them that ' bread was sticky 
stuff with water. ' 

** The sea, which of course they have never seen, is the greatest mystery 
to them ; and when they have got some glimmering idea of what a ship is, 
the question immediately arises in their minds : ' How can a ship find its 
way ? ' One suggested that there were roads in the sea ; another that ships 
were stationed in different parts of the sea to point the way to travellers. 
However, they do not seem surprised at anything done by the white man. 
They imagine that there is no limit to his power and to his wonders." 

So much for the mind of the youthful Mosuto. 


The Rebellion, 1880. 

The Disarmament Act — Attempt to Enforce it upon the Basutos — Death 
of Molapo — Molapo and Moroka — Attitude of the Missionaries — The British 
Power Discredited — Unpreparedness of the Government — Losses of Traders 
— Letsie and Masupha — State of the Leribe District — Jonathan and Joel — 
Masupha and Tukunya — Defensive Force at Thlotse — Threatening Messages 
— First Attack upon Thlotse — Jonathan Eaten up — The French Protestant 
Christians at Manamasoane— Siege and Relief of Thlotse^ ^ekubu — 

The Disarmament Act, passed by the Cape ParHament no 
doubt with the best intentions, had been akeady enforced in tl)je 
Transkei and other extra Colonial territories ; and, as the 
Fingoes, the most loyal tribe in South Africa, had been called 

134 THE REBELLION. 1880. 

upon to submit to it — an ungracious proceeding as all must 
admit — it was felt by the Government that its provisions should 
be extended to Basutoland. It is somewhat difficult to speak of 
the action of the Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Bartle Frere, 
and his responsible advisers at this crisis without trenching 
upon politics, but in view of the results of that action the attempt 
must be made. 

Looked at in the abstract, the determination of the Govern- 
ment was, it seems to me, defensible. The native tribes had 
everywhere increased, and were still fast increasing in numbers ; 
and it was undoubtedly unwise, and possibly dangerous to the 
peace of South Africa, that hundreds of thousands of savages or 
semi-savages should be allowed to possess fire-arms to an 
unlimited extent. There had been enough, nay, alas ! too much 
of war and bloodshed in the past, especially on the borders of 
the Cape Colony, and the Government thought that, now that 
the Kafir tribes had been reduced to submission, the time had 
come when the natives generally should be deprived of the means 
of making war, either upon the white man or upon one another. 
''Let us draw their teeth," was the cry, ** and they will be no 
longer able to bite." 

The terms of the Act were stringent. Not only the much 
coveted and dearly-loved gun was proscribed, but even the 
assagai was to be given up. No weapons whatever of a warlike 
character were to be permitted in the territories where the Act 
was in force. On the other hand, fair and full compensation 
was to be granted for everything of which the owners might be 
deprived. A commission was appointed for each district, 
consisting of the Magistrate or Eesident, the local chief or 
headman, and the principal trader ; and this commission 
was authorised and instructed to assess each man's weapons at 
a fair and just value, the weapons being deposited at each 
magisterial court house for that purpose. 

But, in applying the Act to the Basutos, the Government, it 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 135 

would seem, had not taken into sufficient consideration two 
important facts, which, had they done so, might— perhaps 
ought to — have had the effect of staying their action. 

There was, first, the well-known fact that the Basutos had 
become possessed of firearms largely, if not indeed mainly, 
through the action of the Government authorities themselves. Large 
numbers of Basutos had been induced to go down in to the eastern 
districts of the Colony to work as navvies in laying out the new 
lines of railway, the inducement held out to them being pay- 
ment, either in the shape of money or of a gun. Now the 
railways in the Cape Colony are all of them, it must be remem- 
bered, public property, and regarded as a department of the 
Government service ; and although it is true that they were 
constructed by private contractors, yet the Government permitted 
these contractors to entice large numbers of natives to leave 
their own territories and work on the lines on the terms I have 
mentioned. And this was the case, not only on the railway 
works in the Cape Colony, but also in the diamond mines at 
Kimberley. In both these cases the Government had sys- 
tematically winked at '*free trade in guns for the natives," in 
order that the labour market might be adequately supplied. 
They had done this, too, against the repeated protests of the 
Government of the Orange Free State, through which territory 
most of these natives had to pass in order to return to their 
homes when their period of service had expired. It was of no 
purpose to allege, as the present ministry did, that these were 
the actions of their predecessors in office. The fact remained 
the same, and ought surely to have been taken into due con- 
sideration before proceeding to extremities. 

The other important fact was that only a few months before 
the Basutos had been called upon by this same Cape ministry, 
and had at once responded to the call, to take their part in 
punishing and reducing to order a fraction of their own tribe — 
for Morosi and his people had become to all intents and purposes 


But these important factors in the consideration of the 
question were both ignored. In view of them the Government 
might surely have held its hand, and taken a middle course. It 
might, for instance, have been content with issuing an annual 
gun license, the amount of which, if not excessive, would have 
been cheerfully paid by the people. This course was, indeed, 
suggested to them by a deputation of chiefs, who were sent down 
to Capetown by the whole tribe to represent to the Government 
the extreme unpopularity of the Disarmament Act, and the 
danger of attempting to enforce it. But it was all in vain. The 
fiat had gone forth: *'Let the Basutos be disarmed"; and 
disarmed they were to be — at least so thought the Cape 

On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that the Basutos 
had been saved from national extinction by the British Govern- 
ment only twelve years before, and that Moshesh to his dying 
hour had never ceased to exhort his people to '' remain in the 
cave" which the Queen of England had provided for them, and 
never on any pretence to leave it. Moreover, their position as a 
nation was now absolutely secure, and they had therefore no 
need of weapons and no use for them. Enemies they had none r 
the Free State would never dream of declaring war against 
them as long as Basutoland was British territory, and the 
neighbouring tribes of Kafirs and Zulus were powerless to do them 
harm. Nor did they need firearms for the purposes of the chase, 
for, except in the innermost recesses of the mountains, there were 
no wild animals left to kill. Their grievance was therefore only a 
sentimental one, but it was not the less in their eyes a real one ; 
for sentiment is often a most powerful factor in the affairs of 
men, and no wise or far-seeing statesman would consent to 
ignore its influence. 

Unfortunately for us in the north of the country, Molapo, 
our chief, died at this time, on the 28th of June, the very heart 
of the crisis. Had he lived, events might perhaps have turned 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 187 

out differently ; for it was well known that he would never have 
consented to an appeal to arms against the Government ; and 
that he had up to the last counselled his sons and his people 
generally to obey the new law at whatever cost to their own wishes, 
and trust themselves implicitly in the hands of the Governor 
and his ministers. But he died when his counsel and influence 
were most needed, his end having no doubt been hastened by his 
own follies and vices. 

I may here mention that only two months before, on the 
8th April, another important chief, Moroka, the ruler of the 
Barolongs at Thaba 'Nchu, had passed away after a long, and on 
the whole prosperous, lease of power. A few days after the 
death of Molapo the shock of an earthquake was distinctly felt 
in Basutoland — an unusual occurrence in his part of the^ 
Continent of Africa. It was not severe, and was happily un- 
accompanied by any damage ; but it was loud enough and 
awe-inspiring enough to make the Basutos exclaim, '' See, the 
earth trembles ! To-day the two great chiefs who have lately 
passed away from it are greeting one another in the world of 
spirits." This was the exclamation of the heathen, and is an 
emphatic testimony to their belief in the invisible realm of 

'' But what was the attitude of the missionaries at this 
juncture?" the reader may ask. *' Did they use their influence 
in the direction of submission to the law, or did they counsel the 
people to withstand and oppose it?" Important questions,, 
which have been often asked before, and which I will try to 
answer as truly and impartially as I can. 

As has been already stated, the largest and most influential 
Christian body in the country was that of the French Protestant 
Mission. The great majority of the mission workers of that 
Mission regarded the policy of the Government as one of in- 
tolerable oppression, and some of the most influential among 
them did not shrink from openly stigmatizing it as un warrant- 

138 THE REBELLION. 1880. 

able, dangerous, and tyrannical. That they acted conscientiously 
I am quite sure ; and it must not be forgotten that, as a body, 
they had been fifty years in the country, and had, perhaps of 
necessity, been at times largely identified with the political 
fortunes of the tribe. Moreover, they were Frenchmen, and, 
naturally enough, Eepublicans. They were hostile to the Dis- 
armament Act ; and their hostility, as soon as it became publicly 
known and expressed, added fuel to the flame already being 
kindled throughout the country. They did little or nothing to 
restrain the more violent among the chiefs, who were beginning 
to threaten resistance should the new law be carried out. 
Perhaps they thought that the bold front the majority of the 
nation presented might have the effect of staying the action of 
the Government. At any rate, it was only when they saw the 
great mass of the people, and among them their own Christian 
converts, carried away and standing on the very brink of the 
precipice, that they sought to restrain them from open rebellion. 
They began then to realize the danger ; but it was too late. 

The Cape ministers were obstinately bent upon enforcing 
their policy, and the Basutos as obstinately bent upon resisting 
it. The time for moderate counsels or compromise was past. 
The chiefs, especially the younger ones, were thirsting for the 
fight ; swaggering to and fro, and boasting what they would do 
to the ''Makhoa" (whites) who threatened to deprive them of 
their beloved gun ; babbling about the ** defeat " of the English 
at Berea, and proclaiming that the time had come when they 
were to wet their spears once more. In vain now did the 
missionaries exhort their disciples to submission. The man who 
declared his intention to obey the law and give up his weapons 
at the bidding of the magistrates was stigmatized as a traitor to 
his country, boycotted, and threatened with being altogether 
eaten up should he persist in carrying out his intention. A few 
of the French Protestant converts, to their honour be it said, 
listened to the injunctions of their teachers, but the great 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 139 

majority openly allied themselves to the dominant party (who 
were, of course, heathen), reproaching their pastors for their 
faithlessness to the '^ national cause" as they did so. The 
French Missionaries had, with the best intentions, endeavoured 
to *' swop horses in the middle of the stream," and had, as was 
to be expected, failed. 

Nevertheless, the knowledge that these good men sympathized 
in their hearts with the insurgent party saved their missions 
from destruction, and secured to them also an immunity from 
personal danger during the campaign that followed. During 
that terrible time they, together with a few of the anti-English 
Boers of the Free State, were the only Europeans who could 
move about freely and unmolested in the country. Though 
their mission work was of necessity paralysed for the time, and 
their schools closed, their buildings remained untouched, no 
damage whatever being done to them by the rebels, and only a 
very few of their out stations being injured (inadvertently, it 
was alleged) by the forces of the Government. 

The Eoman Catholics, also French, adopted, as far as 
possible, an attitude of neutrality. They were a much smaller 
body than the Protestants, and possessed but little political or 
social power or influence. Moreover, they gratefully appreciated 
the peace and prosperity which had been secured to the country 
through its incorporation into the British Empire, and the 
freedom they themselves enjoyed under the British flag. This 
feeling of gratitude to England for her intervention in the past, 
tempered, perhaps, by their known anti-republican sentiments, 
restrained them from making any public utterance against the 
policy of the Government ; though doubtless, like every other 
European in the territory, they deplored the want of wisdom 
and consideration manifested by the Cape ministry. Their 
converts were apparently left to join whichever party they 
pleased, and, naturally enough, nearly all of them united them- 
selves to the insurgent leaders. No doubt the presence of these 


Eoman Catholic Christians in the rebel camp saved the mission 
stations of the Eoman Church from destruction, and the mis- 
sionaries themselves from personal molestation, though the clergy- 
were for several months unable to leave their stations, or enjoy 
the personal freedom possessed by their Protestant brethren. 

But a very different fate awaited our own missions. 

Acting on the advice of their Bishop, the clergy of the 
English Church had rigidly refrained from taking any part in 
politics ; but now they were brought face to face with a question 
which demanded a plain answer, " Yes," or *' No," from them, 
so long as they remained in the Lesuto and laboured there in the 
cause of Christ. There was no evading the question. They 
were beset daily by numbers of natives — not only by their 
Christian converts, but by a far larger number of heathen — who 
came to them with the same question upon their lips : *'Monere, 
what am I to do ? Am I to obey the imiso " (Government) "and 
give up my gun, or am T to fight ? " To all of whom the same 
answer was returned: " Kemain in the cave secured to you by 
England, according to your own great chief's advice. Trust the 
Queen, your mother. Obey the law, though it be a hard one. 
Give up your weapons, and do not fight." 

" Trust the Queen of England," was the pith of our advice. 
*' Depend upon it she will not set) you wronged. The Governor 
who has promulgated this new law and the ministers who have 
advised him to do so are all the counsellors and servants of the 
Queen. You will be paid for your guns, and perhaps if the 
Government see that you do not refuse to obey the law — harsh 
though the law be — they may learn to trust you more, and 
in a few years permit you to repurchase the arms they now ask 
you to surrender. It is madness to fight ; the Government are 
strong and you are weak. And do not forget that it was a 
Governor of the Cape who saved you, when as a nation you were 
about to perish. Therefore, trust the Queen and her Governor, 
and all will in the end come right." 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 141 

Alas for the poor men who took our advice ! They were 
promptly eaten up, and lost everything at the very first outbreak 
of the rebellion. All of them without exception were called 
upon to suffer in the cause of loyalty and obedience. More than 
a year afterwards, when the rebellion was over, the Government 
promised them compensation for their losses ; but to the disgrace 
of the British name be it said, this promise, publicly made and 
reiterated, was never more than partially fulfilled. To this day 
none of the loyals of the north — and they were by far the 
greater number — have ever received more than two-thirds of the 
amount officially acknowledged as due to them. 

Yet it was difficult, if not impossible, for us as Christian 
missionaries to give any other advice. At any rate we thought 
so. And looking back upon that confused scene of ten years ago, 
I for one refuse to believe that we could have acted otherwise. 

Though the path of obedience entailed upon the loyal Basutos, 
not only at the time but for years afterwards, the loss of worldly 
goods, the hatred of their fellow-countrymen, and the con- 
temptuous cynicism of some who ought to have known better, 
but who were not ashamed to stigmatize them as ** frauds " — "■ a 
set of Kafirs who had given up their guns for the sake of bread 
and butter " — yet, as we shall see, they won their way out of 
their difficulties by their own endurance and bravery, and 
eventually compelled the admiration of these very detractors. 
There is, I imagine, hardly anyone now in South Africa who 
does not think that the loyal Basutos were very badly treated, 
or who refuses to acknowledge that, whatever their loyalty to 
the Cape Government and the British flag brought to them, it 
did not bring much in the way of *^ bread and butter." 

By way of setting an example, and emphasizing their advice 
by their actions, our missionaries were among the first to obey 
the Proclamation and give up their weapons. For myself I had 
none to give up. I had gone into the country with neither shot 
gun, nor rifle, and the tomahawk and assagai were beyond me. 

142 THE REBELLION. 1880. 

All that I owned in the way of *' weapons " was a pen knife and 
a pair of scissors, which, stringent as were its provisions, the 
Proclamation had happily overlooked, and I therefore retained a 
peaceful possession of them. 

It was, of course, quickly known among the Basutos what 
line the missionaries of '' Ma-Churche " had taken on this 
burning question. Indeed, some of those who had come to us 
for advice were nothing less than emissaries from the more 
turbulent chiefs, who had already made up their minds to fight, 
but who washed to sound us in order to hear, if possible, from 
our lips some justification for their line of action. Failing to get 
this, their vengeance fell upon us. Had '' Ma-Churche" 
declared for the Government ? Well, then, '* Ma-Churche '* 
must be eaten up. Moreover, the English Church was, as we 
know, *'the Queen's Church;" and that was now no longer a 
recommendation and passport to favour, but the reverse. And 
thus our missions were singled out for destruction. 

The Church had at the time three Missions in Basutoland : 
one in the south at Mohale's Hoek, under the charge of the Eev. 
E. W. Stenson; a second, as the reader already knows, at 
Sekubu, in the extreme north, where the Eev. T. Woodman and 
his sister were working ; and my own at Thlotse Heights. 

Of these the first was speedily destroyed : the mission 
buildings being rased to the ground, and the very foundation- 
stone of the church dug up by the rebels for the sake of the coins 
known to be enclosed in it. It was not until several years 
afterwards that this Mission could be resumed, the converts being 
meanwhile scattered to the winds, some few of them trekking 
northwards and attaching themselves to my own mission as soon 
as the way was open for them to do so. 

At Sekubu the buildings were rifled of their contents, and the 
huts burnt. The church and the school being stone structures 
escaped the flames, and were used as cattle kraals and stables- 
A year afterwards, when Mr. Woodman ventured, with the 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 143 

sanction of the chief, to return to the station and again take 
possession of them, they were found to be in a most filthy con- 
dition — the House of God especially so. The rebels had appro- 
priated not only the clothing, bedding, and furniture of the 
missionaries, but also everything they found in the church. 
They wrapped the altar frontals (handsome gifts from friends in 
England) round their greasy ochre-daubed bodies, and strutted 
about in them with great glee. Poor fellows, they were such 
utter barbarians, and so steeped in ignorance and superstition,, 
that one could hardly be angry with them. They had no idea 
of reverence for the house of God, or for holy things. How 
should they ? And they believed that they were fighting for 
liberty and freedom against the tyranny of the white man. 

It is needless to add that neither of these Missions has ever 
obtained a farthing's compensation from the Government for the 
losses thus sustained. 

How it fared with Thlotse we shall see. 

Up to the time of the outbreak the British power in 
Basutoland had rested upon prestige. The Basutos had 
seen in 1868 a handful of white police take possession of 
their country — in answer to their prayer — in the name of 
the Queen of England. They had witnessed the magical 
effect of the presence of this little force upon the Boer 
commandos, and they drew their own conclusions. If the 
Governor of the Cape, by merely publishing his commands upon 
a piece of paper, and sending a small detachment of mounted 
men into Basutoland, could at once compel the Free State 
armies to retire from the country they had conquered at so great 
sacrifice, and so much cost, after years of conflict, without doubt 
the power of England must be great. For years they reposed 
upon this greatness, feeling secure in the cave which Moshesh 
had provided for them, and yielding an unquestioning com- 
pliance to the wishes of their magistrates. But, unhappily, the 
Zulu war had broken down that prestige, and a new generation^ 


which knew nothmg of past dangers and distresses, was fast 
attaining to manhood. All that they saw was that the British 
arms were not invincible, and that the British power was — so it 
seemed to them — on the wane. Isantlana had made a profound 
impression upon them. It was true that the Queen's soldiers 
had retrieved their fallen fortunes at Ulundi, and taken the Zulu 
king a prisoner, yet they had shortly afterwards retired from 
JZululand altogether. Was not this a plain proof that the Queen 
of England had no more soldiers left wherewith to fight the Zulus 
or control them ? She had none ; and therefore it was that she 
set up the thirteen kinglets in the country, knowing well that 
they would begin to bite and devour one another, while she had 
to stand aloof, powerless to interfere between them. 

That was the way the young Basuto chiefs interpreted 
the position. We may smile at them for their innocence, 
but, placed in like circumstances, should we not have drawn the 
same inference ? And we must not forget that these observations 
were apparently confirmed by what was taking place in the 
Transvaal. England had annexed that country, but she did not 
seem able to hold it. Her soldiers there were few in number, 
and the Boers were evidently bent upon shaking themselves 
free from her yoke. Added to all this, there was another fact 
which appealed powerfully to the Basutos. When Morosi and 
his son were disobedient to their magistrate, did the Queen's 
soldiers come up at once and punish them ? No ; the Basutos 
themselves were asked to reduce them to submission ; and it was 
not until some months afterwards that a white force, and that 
only a small one, was placed in the field. '' Where were the red 
coats? Why did not the Queen send them when they were 
wanted ? Because there were none left. The Zulus and their 
other enemies had slain them all. The ' thin red line ' existed 
no more." 

Certainly, at such a time as this the Cape Government 
should have been very chary of enforcing a Disarmament Act 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 145 

upon the Basutos, whatever might be its merits or advantages, 
real or imaginary. Or if they had become convinced that it was 
necessary to the peace and welfare of South Africa to enforce 
such an Act, had they counted the cost of doing so ? Were they 
prepared, if necessary, to enforce the law at the point of the 
bayonet ? They had been warned enough on the subject. They 
knew how distasteful their policy was to the people ; and they 
knew also that their own officials, as well as the traders and 
the missionaries — in fact, everyone in the country — united in 
representing to them the danger that confronted them. Had 
they any force at their back wherewith to withstand a general 
rising of the Basuto nation ? They had none ; or, at any rate, 
none commensurate with such a task. They had only one 
regiment at their disposal, the Cape Mounted Eifles, a regiment 
newly developed out of the old Frontier Armed and Mounted 
Police ; and, efficient as this new regiment undoubtedly was, they 
could hardly have imagined that it would suffice to quell a 
national revolt in such a country as Basutoland. Besides this 
they had the Burgher levies, which might be called out in case 
of necessity ; but as the policy of the ministry was distasteful to 
a large minority of the Colonists, it was hardly likely that there 
would be any hearty response to the call. There were, in 
addition, two or three small, but effective and well equipped 
regiments of Volunteers, which might perhaps be available 
should the crisis become really grave, but that was all. They 
could not hope to obtain the loan of a single regiment from the 
Imperial Government, for that Government viewed their pro- 
ceedings with ill-concealed dislike ; and besides, it was evident 
that a reaction was fast setting in in the mother country against 
South Africa and all that belonged to it ; indeed, there were not 
wanting those who even went so far as to counsel the abandon- 
ment by England of all her South African possessions, except a 
naval station or two at the Cape itself. 

There had not been, there was not now, perhaps there never 



could be, any consistent principle of action — any policy of con- 
tinuity — brought to bear upon the native territories (least of all 
upon Basutoland) either by the Imperial Government or that of 
the Cape Colony. There was no guarantee that the policy which 
was in favour to-day might not be reversed in the near future ; 
nay, within a very few months ; a contingency which did actually 
take place, as we shall see. But, notwithstanding all this, the 
Disarmament Act was proclaimed in the Lesuto, and the Basutos 
were expected to submit to it and deliver up thek arms forth- 

The traders in the country were among the first to realize 
the danger of the Government policy, and as theh goods and 
merchandise were uninsured they commenced at once, upon the 
proclamation of the Act, to remove them into the Orange Free 
State. In some cases they were forbidden to do so by the local 
officials ; and all of them were warned that, as the removal of 
their stock-in-trade would tend to create a panic in the country, 
those who persisted in removing it would not have their licenses 
renewed, or be allowed to trade in Basutoland in the future. 
This had the effect of arresting the general trek which had set 
in. Most of the traders acted on the circulars put forth by the 
officials, and refrained from removing their goods. Wives and 
children were sent away into the neighbouring territories for 
safety, the men remaining at their trading stations as long as it 
was at all safe to do so. A few, secretly warned and assisted by 
friendly natives, succeeded at the very last moment in saving 
portions of their furniture or merchandise ; others, not so 
fortunate, lost the whole of it. No compensation was ever 
made to them for their losses, notwithstanding that they were 
incurred through obedience to the instructions of the magistrates. 
I have had very little personal acquaintance with the traders in 
the southern districts, but of those in the nortli I can un« 
hesitatingly affirm that they were, almost without exception, a 
quiet and well conducted body of men, who pursued their calling 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 147 

in legitimate ways, living in friendship with the natives, and for 
the most part setting them a good example as to sobriety and 
uprightness of dealing. The majority of them were members of 
my own European congregation, and were therefore well known 
to me ; and some of them were not only valued personal friends, 
but also warm supporters of the Mission. During the rebellion 
several of them found their way, very naturally, into the army 
of defence, becoming officers of the loyal native contingent— a 
body of men which did splendid service in the cause of law and 
order, and protected our mission buildings more than once from 
entire destruction. 

Unfortunately for the Basutos, Letsie, the Paramount Chief, 
has never displayed either the virtues or the force of character 
of his great father. A certain cunning, arising more from 
weakness and timidity than from sagacity or bravery, has always 
been his most marked characteristic ; and accordingly he now 
attempted to " run with the hare and hunt with the hounds " : 
a double-faced policy, which was destined to bring about its own 
condemnation. Professing to obey the Act as soon as it was 
promulgated, he allowed his sons to seize and retain possession of 
the guns which he had sent to be delivered up to the authorities, 
while they were being conveyed to Maseru, and winked at the 
attitude of his brother Masupha, who was fast becoming the 
strength and backbone of the opposition. This chief, to do him 
justice, displayed throughout a more single and straightforward 
policy than is usually found among natives of his position and 

In the Leribe district the people were still mourning the loss 
of Molapo, whose action and advice had been, as we know, 
distinctly in favour of submission. Through the chiefs influence 
a large number of his people — perhaps at first the majority of 
them — were disposed to obey the Proclamation ; and though 
Major Bell had simply read that document publicly, and then 
posted it up upon the door of his office (having no power at his 

148 THE REBELLION, 1880. 

back wherewith to enforce its obnoxious provisions), over 600 
guns, good, bad, and indifferent, were voluntarily surrendered 
at once, and placed by their owners in the hands of the 
magistrate. Had the authorities in Capetown even then dis- 
played any spirit of conciliation on the one hand, or any 
projnptitude of action in supporting and protecting the loyalist 
party on the other, it is not too much to say that the north 
would have been spared the bloodshed which followed. But 
they did nothing. They seemed, indeed, for a time paralysed ; 
taking no notice whatever of the repeated appeals made to them 
by their representative at Leribe. The result of this inaction 
was that the opposition faction, worked upon by the '' patriot- 
ism " of Masupha, Lerothodi, and others, rapidly grew in 
numbers and organization ; while the large body disposed to 
obey rapidly dwindled away into a tiny minority under the 
leadership of the young chief Jonathan Molapo. 

The position of this man — destined as he was to become ere 
long the central figure of the north, round which the whole 
loyal force of the nation concentrated itself — requires a few 
words of explanation. 

Josefa, Molapo's eldest son by his great wife Mamusa, had, 
on attaining to manhood, become hopelessly insane. He was, 
therefore, declared incapable of succeeding to the chieftainship, 
and his father nominated his second son by the same wife as his 
heir and successor. This second son was Jonathan. 

But polygamy is sure to bring its curse with it in one form 
or other, and among the African tribes it comes usually in the 
shape of war — most frequently a war of succession. That was to 
be the case here. Jonathan had a powerful rival in the person of 
his half brother Joel, the eldest son of the second wife of 
Molapo. Already, during the father's lifetime, small feuds 
had occurred betwen the two brothers, and they were known to 
regard each other with ill-concealed dislike. Molapo endeavoured 
to smooth things over by removing them to a distance from each 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 149 

other — a common method of procedure by African chiefs under 
such circumstances. He placed Jonathan on the southern 
border of the district at the village of Fobane, close to the 
Putiatsana ; giving him the charge of the entire south, with 
the right of succession to the chieftainship of Leribe. Joel he 
ordered northwards to Buta-Bute, giving him a small strip of 
country between Matela and Sinate, and bidding him dwell 
there in peace. Each of these chiefs had, of course, his own 
attached followers and '' balekane," or comrades ; the latter being 
specially bound to him by the common ties contracted together 
in the circumcision lodge in the days of their youth. 

It was feared that upon the death of their father an open 
rupture would take place between the two sons, and there would 
be a desperate struggle for supremacy. The struggle was bound 
to come ; but it would have come sooner, and would probably 
have been of short duration, but for the action of the Govern- 
ment. The people knew that Jonathan was the rightful heir, 
and the great majority of them were ready to support his claim 
by force of arms if need were. From the first the young chief 
had declared for the Government ; partly from obedience to his 
father's dying wishes, and partly no doubt with the idea of 
strengthening his position all round. He wished to stand well 
with the authorities, who might on that account be the more 
inclined to support his claim to the chieftainship of the northern 
district ; and he had perception enough to see that in the long 
run the Queen's power must triumph in the Lesuto, as it had 
done elsewhere in the other native territories of South Africa. 

For a time Joel also professed obedience to the Government, 
and sent frequent messages to Major Bell, assuring him of his 
loyalty to the Queen, and his intention of obeying the new law. 
But after a few months, when it was apparent that the Govern- 
ment would do nothing to protect those who were running the 
gauntlet of loyalty by the surrender of their arms, Joel, feeling 
that his time was come, seized the opportunity of placing himself 

150 THE REBELLION, 1880. 

at the head of the increasing numbers of the malcontents, and was 
henceforth acknowledged as their leader in the northern division 
of the country. 

It was in Masupha's district, however, that blood was first 
drawn. There was living in it, at a village not far from Advance 
Post, a small chieftain named Tukunya. He and his people were 
Fingoes ; but living as they were in Masupha's country, they 
were of course under his jurisdiction. The Fingoes have always 
been renowned for their loyalty to England, and Tukunya and 
his people were no exception to the rule. They refused to join 
their '' over-lord" in his resistance to the Proclamation of the 
Governor. However distasteful the present policy of the Govern- 
ment might be, they resolved to remain loyal and true to their 
protector across the sea, and to give up their arms when called 
upon to do so. 

Then Masupha sent a commando against them, which on 
the 19th July attacked them, and after some hours' sharp 
fighting, in which the Fingoes defended themselves with great 
bravery, burnt their village and took nearly all their cattle. 
Eaten up by superior numbers, Tukunya and his surviving 
warriors fled, and together with their wives and children found 
refuge at Maseru, the headquarters of the Government. The 
Resident of the district and his police were compelled to abandon 
Advance Post at the same time, and do the same. Masupha 
was triumphant ; officials and loyal natives had all been driven 
out of his territory, and from henceforth he reigned supreme. 
This was the signal for a general rebellion. Armed bands of the 
insurgents were to be seen patrolling the country in every 
direction, threatening to attack the magistracies, which were only 
defended by a few native police whose loyalty at such a crisis 
could hardly be depended upon. In the centre and the south 
the rebel party carried everything before them ; only a tiny 
handful of the people having the courage to declare themselves 
for the Government. In the north, thanks to the firm attitude 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 151 

of Jonathan, the loyal party was still strong, though, owing to 
the unpreparedness and inactivity of the authorities at the Cape, 
it had begun to lose spirit, and was indeed in danger of melting 
away altogether. 

At this juncture of affairs Col. Griffith, who was still the 
chief official in the Lesuto, did his utmost to place Maseru in a 
state of defence. In this he was materially aided by several 
Englishmen living along the border of the Orange Free State, 
who realized the danger of the situation, and saw that the few 
Europeans remaining in the country were liable at any moment 
to be massacred. The Colonel also authorized the formation of a 
small European volunteer corps, numbering between forty and 
fifty men, under the command of Mr. Stanton. This force, 
united with seventy of Tukunya's Fingoes, was despatched early 
in September to Thlotse at Major Bell's request, news having 
reached us that Jonathan and his people had had to fly from 
Fobane and take refuge near us at Tsikoane, a flat-topped 
mountain to the south over the Thlotse, only three miles distant. 
The rebel party in the north was meanwhile increasing in 
numbers daily, Joel attracting to his standard party after party 
of the waverers, now that Jonathan was practically a fugitive 
and unable to hold his own, much less to help them. 

By the end of September Thlotse had a defensive force of 
forty-seven whites and 110 natives, these latter including 
Tukunya and his men, and the men of the mounted police. This 
was a very small body with which to defend a long, straggling 
township, in addition to the Residency and the buildings of the 
Mission. With as much haste as possible the place was put into 
something approaching to a state of defence. Walls, among 
them those of our Mission garden and cemetery, were thrown 
down and levelled to the earth, in order to prevent the enemy 
using them as cover. The gaol, with its enclosed courtyard, was 
turned into a fort, the sod walls round the police camp were 
loopholed, and two large loopholes were made in the east wall of 

152 THE REBELLION, 1880. 

the Mission Cliapel. Anxious to preserve the chapel as far as 
possible from profanation or injury, I had urged the authorities 
to throw up an earthwork outside it where it was most exposed 
to attack, and to use it and the school as a hospital for the 
sick and wounded as soon as the campaign should really begin. 
This might easily have been done at the time, but my wishes 
were overruled, and the poor little chapel was soon afterwards 
pierced in every direction with loopholes and used as a barrack. 
When war actually broke out, and indeed all through the 
campaign, the sick and wounded had no better shelter than that 
of a tent in the courtyard of the fort — a sorry protection from the- 
burning rays of an African sun with the thermometer some* 
times as high as 105 degrees in the shade. There was no build- 
ing in or near the fort large enough for the purposes of a hospital, 
and it was impossible to build one, neither money nor material, 
not to speak of time, being at hand for the purpose. Through 
the combined efforts of Major Bell and Dr. Taylor, a cottage 
hospital was in course of construction, the Government having 
given a small grant for the purpose, before any sign of rebellion 
had manifested itself; but the structure was unfinished, and too 
remote from the fort to be available for use at the present crisis. 
And now there began a series of threatening messages on the 
part of Joel, Eamanella, Khethisa, and Tlasua, the principal 
leaders of the rebel party. Why they did not attack us in July^ 
when Tukunya and his people were driven from their homes and 
Jonathan compelled to retire from Fobane, is past comprehension. 
One can only regard it as a signal manifestation of God's^ 
providence towards us ; for during the two months that elapsed 
between these events and the arrival of the defensive force I have 
mentioned we ivere absolutely at their mercy. They could have 
come at any moment, by night or by day, and burnt our 
dwellings over our heads and killed us all. I do not see how 
one of us could have escaped. There was no force to defend us 
except about fifteen police, who could not possibly have saved 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 153 

either themselves or the place. But the good hand of our God 
was upon us during those weary weeks when we were waiting for 
succour ; our enemies were held back and restrained, and not a 
hair of our heads was injured. All this time the rebels were 
everywhere on the alert all round us. The war bulls had beea 
killed, the paths spread with charms, the warriors ** doctored " 
and made invincible for the fray, and the assagais sharpened, 
and made bright and keen. Everywhere man, horse, and gun 
were in readiness, the ammunition served out, and the little skin 
pouch filled to bursting with a three days' supply of mealie or 
mabele meal. From July onwards very few of us slept at night, 
the alarms and threatening messages were so continuous and the 
danger so great. Yet the enemy did not come. He could have 
annihilated us then, but he allowed his chance to slip by and did 
nothing. Only seven white men were left in the place, and two 
of these, Mr. Champernowne and myself, were non-combatants. 
The few w^iite women and children had been sent away over the 
border into the Free State at the first tidings of the outbreak at 
Tukunya's. One only remained. Miss Champernowne, who could 
not be persuaded to go, but bravely elected to remain for the 
present at least at the Mission. Mr, Beading had left us in 
June. He had gone to the Theological College at Bloemfontein 
for a year's reading preparatory to his ordination. 

By this time the Cape ministers had begun to realize the 
gravity of their position, and were at last doing what little they 
could to meet the crisis. But that little was not much. All that 
they could do at present was to send up in September between 
two and three hundred men of the Cape Mounted Eifles to the 
southern districts ; for the north they could do nothing. The 
weary days, weeks, months dragged on, and yet in spite of 
threatening messages, war dances, innumerable incantations, 
doctorings, castings of spells, and much swagger and brag, no one 
had yet come near to molest us. 

Then Masupha, having been the first to draw blood, began ta 

154 THE REBELLION, 1880. 

taunt Joel and his allies with their inaction. '' Why had they 
not wiped out the English at Thlotse, and their aiders and 
abettors, long ago ? " *' Because they were cowards ! " *' They 
feared Jonathan, who although he had turned Englishman was a 
far better man than they ! " 

Joel and his friends, stung by these reproaches, at last resolved 
to act. '* They would eat up Thlotse at once," and to that end 
they began in good earnest to organize an attack upon us. 

Masupha, who has a keen sense of humour, used to banter us 
every few days upon the possession of '' his property." He sent 
messengers to Major Bell '' with his compliments and greetings." 
'' He desired to know how it fared with the stray goats that the 
Government had in their kraal," alluding to Tukunya and his 
Fingoes, who, as we have seen, were now with us. *' These 
goats," he said, *'are mine." '' They were very lean and sick, 
and covered all over with scab " — alluding to their loyalty to the 
Government — ** when they were last with me." '* But I hear 
that they are fatter and more well-favoured now, and so I intend 
to send and fetch them." 

Then, receiving no response save the greetings of the Major, 
he would send again a few days afterwards to let us know than 
'* his brand'zlek (scabbed) goats were still in our kraal, and that 
he should come himself to fetch them. And woe be to us when 
he came, for he would eat us all up together ! " 

But he never did come. He had ousted the Government from 
his own domain, and was now sole monarch of all he surveyed ; 
and he was shrewd enough not to leave his own stronghold at 
Thaba Bosigo and go on a doubtful expedition to Leribe. Still 
he undoubtedly succeeded in stirring up our adversaries against 
us, and his continued gibes and taunts compelled them to prove 
ihe truth of their boastings by their deeds. 

At last, on November 8, the attack came. 

It was sudden, swift, well planned, and delivered with great 
spirit. But thanks be to God it failed. 


THE REBELLION, 1880. 155 

The day was Monday. We had held our usual services on 
the Sunday, though with diminished numbers ; many of the men 
being posted round the heights on sentry duty. In the evening 
a heavy rain set in and poured down all night. Penetrated with 
the happy conviction that the rebels would not venture a 
twenty-five miles' ride from Buta-Bute in such a downpour, 
most of our men had for once gone to bed, and were soon fast 
asleep, though from the reports of our spies and scouts an 
attack seemed imminent. Their confidence was misplaced ; for 
Joel, rightly judging that he would thus the more easily surprise 
us, resolved to eat us up at daybreak next morning. 

Mr. Champernowne and his sister had retired to their huts, 
which were close to my own, and near the mission chapel. At 
my wish they had gone to bed, it not being necessary to leave 
more than one of our party on the watch. 

The night passed wearily enough. Drip, drip, from the 
swollen thatch was all that was heard, save now and then when 
the rain pattered against the four small panes of glass in the one 
window of the hut. Without all was black : a thick, inky dark- 
ness, so intense that literally one could not see one's hand close 
before one's eyes. Worn out and lonely, a chill, creepy sensa- 
tion came over me. All seemed gruesome. Everything around 
felt cold and clammy in the unutterable darkness. The moist 
air had penetrated everywhere : my very cassock was dank and 
damp. It was dangerous to light a candle, as its light might be 
seen through some chink or crevice, and serve as a guide to the 
foe. So I had to sit in the darkness, and meditate as best I 
could upon '' the vanity of human wishes." 

What an irrational creature man seemed to be ! Here were 
thousands of people squabbUng and fighting, biting and 
devouring one another, over the possession of a wretched iron 
tube which could not possibly be of any real use to them, for 
they had no use for it. Nevertheless, childlike, they would not 
give it up at the bidding of their superiors, though they were to 


be paid the full value of it, and to lose nothing by their act of 
obedience. It was theirs, and they would, on no consideration, 
relinquish the possession of it ; nay, rather than do so, they 
were in all probability at that very moment on the war path, 
coming down to cut our throats. Perhaps there were even then 
fifty of them only a few yards away, at the bottom of the garden, 
waiting for the signal to advance, and burn down my poor little 
hut and disembowel me. 

And then there was the Government. It seemed impossible 
that a number of '* grave and reverend seigniors " could so pro- 
voke, and that so heedlessly, a multitude of savages — ** children, 
with the passions of men " — as to goad them into butcheries and 
deeds of blood, from which, in their better moments, every one 
of them would shrink. Truly, the game was not worth the candle. 
Yes, thought I, *' Sam Slick" is right. '* Human nature is 
a very queer thing, and there is a great deal of it in man." 

Then deeper thoughts would steal over one's soul : thoughts 
of those at rest in paradise, beyond the jarring scenes of earth. 
For ** the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and 
there shall no torment touch them."* They had been taken 
away from the evil to come, and I thanked God that it was so. 

After all, what did it matter ? One was in the Father's 
hands, and to embrace His will was the only happiness. So 
doing, all would be well — come life, come death ; come deliver- 
ance from danger, or the deadly thrust of the assagai. 

Thus the long, weary hours passed away. A little before 
dawn the rain ceased, and at day-break — five o'clock — I heard 
the rapid clatter of a horse's hoofs. It could not be a sentry 
returning from night duty, for it was still early, and the horse- 
man was evidently riding in hot haste. I listened, too tired and 
worn out to rouse myself and see. Then in a minute or two the 
well-known notes of the ** alarm " burst forth from the bugle at 
the fort. That was a plain call to duty, so I went forth to see ; 

* Wisdom of Solomon iii. 1. 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 157 

and there, before my eyes, Aot 1,000 yards off, was the enemy, 
forming into line on the rising ground opposite for the charge. 
At last, then, the rebels had really come, and the ball was about 
to open. 

There was not a moment to be lost. Hastily I roused my 
two sleeping friends, and in a few seconds they were on the way 
to the fort, where I knew they would be under cover and safe as 
long as the place could hold out. Then I went into the chapel, 
which was rapidly filling with volunteers, both black and white, 
awaiting the onslaught of the foe. 

The horseman I had heard was Captain Stanton, who, ever 
on the alert, had ridden out alone just before daybreak to see 
that all was well, and had hardly proceeded a mile when he 
observed, not far off, the whole of the northern detachment of 
the enemy rapidly advancing. Putting spurs to his horse, he 
rode back with all speed, just in time to rouse his sleeping men, 
and see them and the native contingent posted at their appointed 
places, before the enemy, with a great rush from the brow of the 
hill, swooped down upon us. 

The Basutos are all light cavalry, well mounted on tough, 
wiry ponies, which will go anywhere, their riders never thinking 
of dismounting even in the steepest and most break-neck bridle 
paths and mountain passes. Five thousand of these warriors 
now attacked us, our straggling village being defended by the 
handful of men I have mentioned, who had the advantage of 
being all of them under some sort of cover. Mercifully for us 
and our dwelling place the rain had rendered the Thlotse 
impassable, thus preventing the eastern detachment under 
Eamanella from scaling the heights and attacking us in rear. 
Had the rebel forces been able to combine and carry out their 
well conceived plan, it is at best but doubtful whether a single 
hut would have escaped destruction, or a human being remained 
alive in the place. Eight thousand men, armed to the teeth 
with assagai, rifle, hatchet, and short stabbing spear, against 

158 THE REBELLION, 1880. 

one hundred and forty, who had to* defend many buildings and 
many more huts, covering altogether a large expanse of ground i 
The odds would have been too great ; and we saw, in the swollen 
river and the three thousand balked and inactive savages on the 
other side of it, God's protecting hand stretched out to help us. 
So vigorously was the charge delivered that at one point the 
Snider carbines of the native police and the Martini-Henrys of 
Joel's picked troopers crossed each other through the same . loop- 
holes 1 The action lasted a little over an hour, and then our 
enemies, foiled and beaten at every point, began to draw sullenly 
off. They had succeeded in burning two houses and two or three 
huts, besides lootmg and partially destroying the Residency and 
the Doctor's cottage ; but, being exposed at close quarters to a 
galling fire, they lost heavily. We counted twenty-eight corpses 
on the spot when the fight was over, and we knew that they had 
carried off many others. They acknowledged afterwards that 
in this first attack they had lost thirty-nine killed, and about 
double that number wounded ; but as natives are never accurate 
in their numbers, and it is always difficult to find out the actual 
losses in these native wars — insignificant as the numbers are 
when compared with those of the battle-fields of Europe — it is 
probable that their losses were heavier than the number stated. 
Our loss was but trifling, the cover being so good. Two men 
were dangerously wounded, and one slightly, and both the former 
recovered. One of our men had a narrow escape. He was a 
young fellow named Pitso, a Mosuto, in the service of Major 
Bell. The Residency was too far from the native township to be 
defended, and the Major had, therefore, been sleeping of late in 
his office, a wretched little apartment in what was known as the 
'* Court-house," or general Government Office, near the fort. 
But Pitso would not abandon the old abode in which he had 
spent so many happy years. He insisted on keeping guard over 
it and sleeping in it, though quite alone ; alleging as his excuse 
for doing so his master's need of his ** early coffee," which could 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 159 

be prepared there earlier and better than elsewhere. This cup 
of early coffee, which is usually ready at sunrise or immediately 
afterwards, is one of the most cherished institutions of South 
Africa, and English settlers speedily learn to adopt and 
appreciate it. 

On the morning of the attack Pitso was suddenly awakened 
by the sound of windows being broken and doors crashed in. 
Springing to his feet he saw the outbuildings in flames, a great 
crowd of the insurgents all round the house, and all chance of 
escape cut off. There seemed to be no hope whatever left for 
him, for the enemy would be all through the house itself in a 
few moments, and a dozen assagais plunged into his body. In 
his despair he crept into a cupboard in the passage — the very last 
corner one would consider a safe place of refuge. Yet it proved 
to be so to him. The surging crowd of rebels pressed forward, 
beat down the doors, and took possession of the house. They 
hacked and chopped everything they could find into pieces, and 
only the iron roof of the building prevented it from sharing the 
fate of the cottages and huts around it. Yet, strange to say, 
they never thought of opening that cupboard ! The other cup- 
boards and recesses were all of them disfigured and ransacked of 
their contents, but that particular cupboard remained untouched.. 
Groups of men, cursing and swaggering, passed and repassed it, 
hacking with their hatchets every bit of woodwork that came in 
their way, but it was left alone. This is the more remarkable 
when we consider that the native under such circumstances 
invariably gives way to the spirit of curiosity, which dominates 
him as easily as it does a child. But they passed and repassed, 
little thinking that within the small recess there lay coiled up 
in utter helplessness one whom they could have pinned to the 
wall in a moment with their spears. 

Great was our joy when Pitso emerged unscathed, and with 
a whole skin, from his hiding-place, which he did not many 
minutes after the rebels had been beaten off. We had all dven 


liim up for lost, and Major Bell especially had felt greatly dis- 
tressed at the faithful fellow's untimely fate. But he was saved 
after all, and certainly had a most remarkable escape. 

As soon as the enemy began to retreat, our men rushed forth, 
mostly on foot, in pursuit, and in so doing captured thirty-six 
riderless horses, which were at once brought into the fort. I 
think that was almost the only spoil we took throughout the 
entire campaign. 

What a piteous sight the poor little mission chapel presented 
when the fight was over ! The windows were all chopped to 
pieces, the walls loopholed in every direction, and the unceiled 
iron roof riddled with shot. The walls of this peaceful sanctuary 
of God had hitherto resounded with songs of prayer and praise, 
but now they were given over to the clang of warlike weapons 
and the horrid din of the instruments of death. The deafening 
noise of the firing as volley after volley was discharged from 
within and without, the sickening smell of the powder, the 
sufi:bcating volumes of smoke which filled the whole building, 
and the mangled corpses lying around, all combined to make 
one realize the havoc wrought by war, and the terrible hindrance 
the rebellion would be to the spread of the Gospel among the 

Henceforth, for a considerable time, our mission work came 
to an end. Thirty men (ten whites and twenty blacks) were 
quartered in the church and school, where they remained until 
the following August. 

In the mission garden two of Joel's men had been shot down 
from the sanctuary window on the north side of the church : one 
was already dead, but the other was still breathing when I took 
the doctor to him after the enemy had begun to retire. Nothing 
could be done for the poor fellow : he was shot through the head, 
and died a few minutes after we reached him. 

By eight o'clock our enemies had retreated to the hills of 
Sebotoane, and could we then have followed them up, thereby 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 161 

making our victory a decisive one, their power would have been 
so broken that the rebellion would almost certainly have come 
to an end in the north. But we had not strength enough to do 
so, and, moreover, very few of our men were mounted. Nearly 
all our loyal natives had lost their horses in the fight at 
Tukunya's, and the white volunteers were as yet only infantry. 
The northern insurgents were, therefore, still able to hold 
together, notwithstanding the check they had received ; and in 
the evening when they effected a junction with Eamanella's men, 
they became more formidable than ever. 

On going up to the training college compound a ghastly 
scene presented itself. We passed sixteen dead bodies of our 
enemies, some of them horribly disfigured ; and when the garden 
was reached we found the main path slippery in several places 
with blood. A hand to hand fight had raged here for some 
minutes before the enemy was dislodged, and the cattle kraal at 
the bottom of the garden was a horrible sight. Several of Joel's 
men must have lost their lives there in trying to carry off our 
cattle. One horse only was left, and the poor thing was 
trembling all over from excitement and fright when we entered 
the kraal. All that was portable in the huts, including most of 
our food, had been carried off ; but a ham we had succeeded in 
procuring from the Free State a few days before was left on the 
ground outside the kitchen, being probably dropped from the 
saddle in the hurry of retreat. This we thankfully reappro- 
priated, and, after making a note of the few other things 
remaining from the general wreck, we returned to our huts near 
the chapel, which, thanks be to God, had escaped injury. I 
was much distressed that Miss Champernowne should have been 
called upon to witness such a dreadful scene of havoc and death 
as that which had just passed before her eyes. The sight of the 
mangled remains of the poor heathen men who had fallen in 
what they believed to be the path of duty moved her greatly, but 
she behaved bravely through it all. 


We returned to the huts with the mtention of taking counsel 
together as to the future, but there was in truth no need to da 
so. The matter was quickly decided for us. The rebellion 
having now actively invaded Thlotse itself, the seat of the 
magistracy of the north, martial law was proclaimed, Major Bell 
becoming Commandant of the Forces, such as they were, at the 
disposal of the Government for the protection of the place^ 
Notice was accordingly given to us that no non-combatant 
Europeans but myself would be allowed to remain at the station,, 
and Mr. Champernowne and his sister were escorted next 
morning to the Free State, where they remained until peace 
was proclaimed, Mr. Champernowne taking charge of the parish 
of Harrismith for a portion of the time. 

Towards noon on the day of this first attack upon our sta- 
tion, the Thlotse became fordable some eight or ten miles up the 
stream, and Jonathan Molapo, who had been prevented from 
coming to our assistance before, now crossed over and came into 
Thlotse vnth 1,500 of his men. They congratulated us heartily 
upon our deliverance, and together with our own men united in 
a great war dance in celebration of our victory. 

Jonathan, whose headquarters were now at Tsikoane, had 
fully intended marching to our relief, but had been prevented, as 
we have seen, from doing so ; but the swollen river which 
hindered him from carrying out his intention enabled him never- 
theless to keep Ramanella in check for several hours on the 
south side of the Thlotse until all danger to us had for the 
time passed away. This action of our loyal ally brought down 
upon him the vengeance of the entire northern band of rebels. 
Repulsed at Thlotse and unsuccessful in their attempt to destroy 
the place, they retired to the gorges of Sebotoane, where they 
knew themselves to be perfectly safe, calculating as they did 
upon our inability to follow them up. 

The next day the entire party, Eamanella included, held 
council of war, at which they resolved to eat up Jonathan fox 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 163 

his temerity in having dared to go to the rescue of the white 
man. They proceeded on the morrow (the 11th) to carry out 
their resolution. Jonathan had in the meantime returned to 
Tsikoane and fortified his stronghold to the best of his ability. A 
furious fight took place, which lasted the whole day, and resulted 
at last in a great and decisive victory to the rebels. As for us 
at Thlotse we had to content ourselves with looking on. We 
were powerless to assist the man who had acted so generously 
towards us, and our feelings may be better imagined than 
described when we saw, in the afternoon, his village on fire, and 
learnt that though his men still held out in the rocks against 
desperate odds, all hope of recovering their position was at an 
end. The women and children had long before taken to flight, 
and were now safe in the Free Stale. 

Outnumbered as Jonathan was by at least five to one, it is 
doubtful whether his enemies would have accomplished their 
purpose had it not been for the treachery of one of his 
counsellors, who in these pages shall be nameless. Suffice it to 
say that he was a man who had been greatly valued and trusted 
by Molapo, and who declared himself ready to follow Jonathan 
to the death, notwithstanding the unpopular side which the 
chief had taken. This man had been posted with a strong 
force to hold the main path leading up to the mountain camp, 
and at the critical moment of the battle he suddenly and basely 
betrayed his trust by going over to Joel. Most of his men 
followed his example, and thus the rebels at once gained an 
entrance into the centre of the stronghold. Not content with 
this, he acted with perfidious cruelty towards a younger brother 
of his chief, a little lad, who in the confusion of the fight had 
become separated from his protectors and was left alone in a 
corner of the battlefield. The traitor saw him, and lured him 
to his death by promises of friendship and protection. '* Come 
to me, my child,'' he cried, ** do not be afraid. You know 
I was your father's friend, and now I will be yours. 


Trust yourself to me and I will see that no one shall harm 

The boy, though hesitating at first, having heard of the 
man's treason, was in the end beguiled by his smooth speeches, 
and crossed over to him. But no sooner had he done so, than 
the old monster turned upon him, and butchered him in cold 
blood with the assagai. The whole scene was witnessed by 
several of Jonathan's men but a short distance off, and in a few 
minutes the perjured savage met, at their hands, the same death 
that he had meted out to the confiding, but unfortunate, child 
just before. 

No one knows the numbers of the killed and wounded on 
that fateful day, but they must have been heavy ; for both sides 
fought with great obstinacy, and very often at close quarters, the 
assagai doing on such occasions much more deadly execution 
than the rifle. 

By sunset, Jonathan, weakened by the defection of so many 
of his men, and altogether overpowered by numbers, was 
completely beaten : his town was burnt to ashes, his cattle were 
swept off, and he himself was a fugitive flying for his life. Just 
before dark he, together with about 500 men who were still 
faithful to him, contrived to escape over the Thlotse and take 
refuge in '' the Camp," as our station began now to be called. 
I remember so well the scene. The men cowed, beaten, and 
demoralized, looking like so many whipped curs, coming in by 
twos and threes, with their chief and his bodyguard bringing up 
the rear ; all of them hungry and exhausted, and most of them 
stark naked, having thrown off their blankets when the hand to 
hand struggle began. By the time they all reached us it was 
quite dark, and Mr. Charles Bell and I went out with lanterns 
and distributed among them several bales of coloured blankets, 
which had fortunately been left at a local trader's. ** What are 
we to do with them ? " said Major Bell ; and, indeed, it was a 
problem. They were, of course, utterly destitute, and had to be 

THE REBELLION. 1880. 165 

rationed every day from our not over abundant supply of 
mealies ; there were no huts or tents for them, and until they 
could build for themselves they had to huddle together for 
several weeks outside the fort, sleeping in rows round its walls. 

These men proved to be a great stand-by to us as time went 
on. Their loyalty to their chief had been thoroughly and 
severely tested, and was beyond dispute; and since he had 
chosen to stake his all — power, wealth, possessions, reputation, 
ease, and comfort — on behalf of the Government they were 
ready to follow his example, and be loyal too to the Queen of 
England, even to the loss of worldly goods, nay, to death itself. 
They had now gone too far to recede, and must take the conse- 
quences. Most of them were soon afterwards formed into a 
*' Native Contingent," in company with Tukunya's men and 
others ; and this force, numbering a little over 700 men, was 
placed under the command of Mr. C. Bell, an officer personally 
known to all of them, and one in whom they all had confidence. 

The victorious rebels, having wiped out the chief obstacle to 
their progress, now carried everything before them throughout 
the entire district. There was still a small body of loyal natives 
left outside Thlotse. These were the people of Manamasoane, 
the French Protestant Mission, about six miles to the north of 
our own. Most of them were Christians, the fruits of the 
devoted labours of M. Coillard in years gone by. M. Coillard 
had, as I have said, left Basutoland some time before, and gone 
northwards to preach the Gospel to the Banyai. These loyal 
Christians were under the command of Nathanaele Makotoko, 
whose name is already familiar to the reader, and who proved 
himself to be in every way worthy of their confidence. 
Nathanaele and his people, both Christian and heathen, were 
devotedly attached to the house of Molapo, and they resolved, 
happen what would, to remain faithful to Jonathan as his son 
and heir. They were now speedily marked out for destruction, 
more especially as their village was quite undefended, for it was 

166 THE REBELLION, 1880. 

situated close to the church at the French Protestant station. 
The rebel party accordingly proceeded to eat them up with all 
speed, and with tlie utmost thoroughness. Their village was 
burnt, everything they possessed taken from them, and they 
themselves compelled to take refuge with us at ** the Camp." 
Their pastor, who sympathized with the rebels, remained un- 
molested, and during the whole campaign was the only white 
man who could go at large wherever he pleased throughout the 
district. His people were eaten up under his very eyes, but he 
made no sign, though, doubtless, he would have been unable to 
save them had he tried to do so. No doubt he acted from 
conscientious motives, but there could, of course, be little 
affection or confidence between him and his flock ; and it is, 
therefore, no wonder that soon after the termination of the 
rebellion he returned to France. 

Under the Leribe mountain, not far from Manamasoane, there 
is a cave to which some twenty or thirty of Molapo's men 
retreated, determined to hold out to the last extremity. They 
were surrounded by the rebels, who in the end starved them out 
and compelled them to surrender. Poor fellows, in their distress 
they succeeded one night in sending a messenger to Major Bell 
to implore his intervention, but nothing could be done to help 
them. How the man managed to get through the enemy's 
lines is a mystery ; but he did, under cover of the darkness ; 
and we all deplored our inability to rescue his comrades. It was 
impossible for him to return to them, and a few days afterwards 
we heard of their surrender. 

The whole loyalty of the Leribe district being now con- 
centrated at Thlotse, the rebels, after holding a series of 
councils, determined to besiege the place and starve us out. 
They put out their whole strength, and formed a cordon which 
surrounded us on all sides, and which drew closer and closer 
every day. They worked hard night after night in constructing 
earth works, narrowing the circle, and drawing it nearer to us 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 167 

morning by morning. They poisoned the water in one of our 
springs, and cut off our supply from another, and that the 
principal one, so that there was very little water to drink, and 
none for any other purpose. From daylight to dark they kept 
up a desultory, dropping fire upon us, which was exceedingly 
irritating, though it did but little real harm. They burnt all 
the outlying huts ; among them our own in the college com- 
pound, which had escaped the first attack. This was done on a 
Sunday afternoon (12th December) while Mr. Champerno\vne 
and other friends in the Orange Free State stood upon a tongue 
•of land on the west side of the Caledon, watching the flames 
as one by one the huts became a heap of ashes. 

Our case was fast becoming desperate. There were now over 
seven hundred half-starved natives to be fed daily, besides fifty 
Europeans ; the water from the principal fountain was entirely 
-cut off, and it was only with great difficulty that any was to 
be procured elsewhere. Wells had been sunk, but they had 
not been successful ; food was rapidly failing, and there was no 
means of getting a fresh supply from the Free State, the 
rebels having not only surrounded us but carried off the one boat 
on the Caledon. Each morning saw their lines advancing nearer 
and nearer, and in less than a week we should be starved out and 
completely at their mercy. 

In this strait Major Bell happily succeeded in sending off a 
dispatch to the commanding officer at Maseru, the headquarters 
of the Government, and now a fortified camp, informing him of 
our condition, and requesting aid at once if the place was to be 
saved. We could not learn whether the native who took the 
letter had succeeded in scrambling down the rocks, and making 
his way through the lines of our besiegers during the hours of 
darkness, and our anxiety was becoming very great, when, one 
morning while it was still dark, almost a week after the 
messenger had left, the welcome news reached us that the 
Kimberley Horse was on its way to our relief. The Commandant 

168 THE REBELLION, 1880. 

at Maseru, on learning our pitiful plight, had at once ordered the 
right wing of that regiment — a corps of cavalry lately raised 
at the Diamond Fields, and but recently arrived at Maseru — to 
proceed by forced marches to Thlotse. The regiment marched 
through the Free State, with the permission of the President, the 
country between Maseru and Leribe being entirely in the hands 
of the rebels. The relieving force so promptly sent to our relief 
numbered 275 men, well mounted and well equipped, under the 
command of Major Laurence, a brave and competent officer, 
who rode forward in advance alone, and at the risk of his life 
made his way up the heights before daylight, and brought by 
word of mouth the welcome tidings that relief was at hand. A 
few hours afterwards his men appeared on the west bank of the 
Caledon, forced a passage across the river (which was then 
running high) under a galling fire from the rebels, cleared the 
enemy before them up the rocks, and off-saddled at the fort 
amidst the ringing cheers of the whole garrison. 

They had not come a moment too soon, for it would have 
been impossible for us to hold out more than a day or two 
longer. Fatigued as they were with their long march, they 
nevertheless only off-saddled for an hour, for absolutely necessary 
rest and refreshment for themselves and their horses ; then 
mounting, they spurred forward to charge the allied rebel force 
under Eamanella, Khethise, and Tlasua ; our own natives, now 
inspirited and full of hope for the future, making short work 
of Joel's men on the northern side of the town. The success of 
this fine body of men was astonishing. They charged an enemy 
at least ten times their own number with the lightheartedness 
and gaiety of school boys, drove the rebels from their magnificent 
position in the rocks round the heights, forced them to retreat 
over the Thlotse, and finally chased them across the broken 
country between us and the Malutis, almost up to the foot of 
their mountain villages. Thus for the second time Thlotse was 
saved. Indeed, and in truth, the Kimberley Horse did splendid 

THE REBELLION, 1880. 169 

service that day, for but for them we must have perished. God 
bless the Khnberley Horse. 

Not long after the advent of our deliverers, another regiment 
of light cavalry arrived. This was the Transvaal Horse, a body 
of volunteers recruited at Pretoria, and under the comniand of 
Lt.-Col. Ferreira, C.M.G. This regiment occupied the rising 
ground directly opposite our mission garden to the north east, 
and protected us against the attacks of Joel and Matela. A fort 
was built, and a nine pounder mounted upon it close to the 
regimental lines, and from henceforth the rebels were unable to- 
come to close quarters with us, except on rare occasions on the 
south side ; on which occasions they would scale the rocks with tha 
agility of cats, and give our native contingent a great deal of 
trouble in and around the cattle kraals. 

Everything at Thlotse was now organized on a military 
basis. Redoubts and other earth works were pushed forward 
vigorously ; food for man and beast was obtained through 
escorted and well guarded convoys from the nearest towns and 
villages in the Orange Free State ; and our enemies, observing 
all this, were for the time cowed. Major Bell received from the 
Colonial Government the rank of Lt. -Colonel, and was confirmed 
in his post of Commandant of the Forces in the Leribe district. 

Mission work, in the ordinary sense of the term, was at an 
end, but daily Matins was said in Sesuto in one of our huts, and 
there were always five or six of our native Christian volunteers 
present at it. On Sundays there was a celebration of the Holy 
Eucharist soon after sunrise in the same hut, and I am thankful 
to say that there were always a few of the more earnest of the 
men, both black and white, who attended it, and received 
together with myself the Bread of Life. A parade service in 
English in the open followed, the men of all three regiments 
forming three sides of a hollow square ; and in the afternoon, if 
fighting was not going on, I held a mission service in Sesuto for 
the native contingent and the police. The government showed a 


<5ommendable anxiety to provide for the spiritual needs of the 
men in the field, appointing four Chaplains to the Forces : two 
Anglican, a Eoman, and a Wesleyan. Three of these were with 
the main column under Brigadier-General Clarke in the south ; 
the fourth, myself, was appointed to Leribe. 

I may mention here that a party of Joel's men attacked the 
Sekubu mission soon after their first defeat at Thlotse. Miss 
Woodman had removed to Harrismith, in the Orange Free 
State, some time before ; and the night before the attack 
Mr. Woodman, who had been warned in time by a friendly 
native, escaped over the border with his Mosuto boy. He could 
;save nothing except the communion vessels, which he slung over 
Tiis shoulder; and it was a special mercy that he succeeded in 
crossing the Caledon in the dark, the river being very high at 
the time. But he and the lad got safely across, and found their 
way at midnight, drenched to the skin, to the house of a Dutch 
Boer in the '* conquered territory," w^here they were received and 
cared for with the utmost kindness and sympathy. This attack 
upon the mission station does not reflect much credit upon Joel, 
since he had given repeated assurances to Mr. Woodman that, 
whatever happened, he and the mission should not be molested. 
But no doubt it was difficult for the chief to restrain his men 
from violence, smarting as they were under the severe repulse 
they had just experienced. 

There was now for us at Thlotse a little breathing time, and 
meanwhile the rebels were holding daily pitsos, and maturing 
then' future plan of action. During this period of inaction the 
absence of efficient discipline was conspicuous among the 
volunteers, and drunkenness became very rife. This latter evil 
attained at times to such proportions that the very sentinels 
were often unfit for duty ; and on one occasion a commanding 
officer sallied forth sjambok in hand, and soundly flogged into 
soberness one of his sentries, who was endangering the lives of 
his comrades by repeatedly discharging his rifle in all directions 

THE REBELLION. 1880. 171 

at imaginary enemies. This was at night, too; and, of course, 
tended to increase the number of scares and false alarms which 
darkness generally brought with it. Rumours were rife of an 
impending attack by the combined rebel forces on Christmas 
Day, tjieir spies and scouts having learnt the condition of the 
garrison. They were told that Christmas was the great 
** Drinking Feast of the Englishman," and imagined, naturally 
enough, that on that day the whole place would be at their 
mercy. What a heathen satire upon English Christianity ! To 
the credit of the officers, and happily for Thlotse, this design was 
frustrated by an order put forth just before the festival, for- 
bidding the sale or circulation of any spirituous liquors beyond a 
small regulation quantity once a day to the men on active duty. 
Thus we were at once preserved from danger, and saved from 
humiliation and disgrace. 

Christmas Day was spent very quietly, and with entire 
sobriety, and it was very pleasant and refreshing to have my dear 
fellow workers, Mr. and Miss Champernowne, once more uniting 
together in worship with myself and our small band of Christian 
converts at the early Celebration in our little hut. They had 
managed to cross the river, and come over to Thlotse for a few 
hours, under an escort of volunteers, the rebels having, within 
the last few days, drawn off their commandos from the drift. It 
was the last time we were all three privileged to receive the 
Holy Communion together, and I am sure that the little 
company of communicants, both native and European, who 
united with us in that quiet and soul- refreshing service on the 
Birthday of the Lord, will ever remember it as one of the 
brightest and happiest moments of their lives. All the services 
of the day were well attended, and in their way joyful and 
hearty, and for once the anticipations of our enemies had in no 
wise been realized. There was no drunkenness and no disorder, 
and the holy day seemed to have brought with it, in the midst of 
danger, a special benediction from the Prince of Peace. 


Dkeary Days. 


Position of Affairs— Third Attack upon Tlilotse— Skirmishes— Com- 
mandant Saunders — Captain Hanson— Major Laurence— Ntoana — Ruined 
state of the Chapel — Defective Hospital Arrangements — Great Rain- 
Scarcity of Food— ^. Poet— An Escape— Work among the Troops— Scenes 
at Deaths and Funerals — Palm Sunday — Death of Lt.-Col. Bell. 

The new year opened with very little that was hopeful. The 
rebels were again becoming aggressive and insolent, and they 
were, moreover, better organized, armed, and equipped, than ever 
before. They had taken so much loot, and carried off so much 
cattle, that they could well afford to part with some of the spoil 
to unprincipled gun-runners, both Dutch and English, on the 
border, who, '' for a consideration," procured them improved 
arms and an abundant supply of ammunition. The whole of 
Basutoland was now in their hands, with the exception of the 
three fortified camps held by the Government at Maseru, 
Mafiteng, and Thlotse, together with the ground on which 
General Clarke's main column actually encamped from day to 
day between the two former places. The war dragged itself 
along slowly and unsuccessfully, and what little was done 
seemed for the most part to be done unwisely. It appeared to 
be nobody's fault, for nobody seemed to know anything of what 
was going on or to have any responsibility ; in fact, it looked 
at times as if the whole of the defensive force, from the general 
in command down to the rawest volunteer, was suffering from 
paralysis. Individual acts of heroism and bravery were not 
wanting on the part of both officers and men, as any one can 
testify who went through that ill-starred campaign, but they 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 173 

availed little or nothing to counteract the baleful influence of the 
mental and moral confusion, which from first to last appeared 
to reign supreme in the councils of those most responsible for 
the situation of affairs. A skirmish now and then, in which a 
few huts were destroyed but no cattle taken, marked the most 
vigorous of our efforts, both at Thlotse and elsewhere. Occa- 
sionally the rebels, wearied by our inaction, or anxious to dispute 
the path with the main column when it sought to advance, would 
come forth from their hiding places, and boldly attack us ; the 
result being that, though we contrived to hold our own, and beat 
back the enemy, it was usually with the loss of some of cur 
best men. 

Large numbers of Englishmen were in the ranks of the Cape 
Mounted Rifles or the different volunteer regiments in the field, 
many of whom, young and inexperienced, were cut off in the 
flower of their manhood in these skirmishes. Among them was 
young Bernard White, of the C. M. E., who was killed at 
Kalabane, in one of the first skirmishes, in September. He was 
the only son of a well known and revered parish priest in Eng- 
land, the Rev. G. C. White, of Newlands, who had been a 
generous supporter of the Church's work in the Lesuto from its 
commencement, and who, at the termination of the war, erected 
a mission chapel at Mafiteng, a station not far from the spot 
where the young man fell. 

The Feast of the Epiphany saw us attacked once more for 
the third time. Some of our men had been out engaging a small 
body of the enemy at the Kimberley Kopje — a hillock renowned 
as the scene of many a stubborn hand to hand fight between the 
Kimberley Horse and the rebels — when just before sunset large 
commandos were seen advancing upon them from all quarters. 
They retreated at once into camp, and soon there poured forth, 
stream upon stream, the whole rebel host. Down they rushed 
from the slopes and gorges of Sebotoane, and over the **neck " 
from Khethisa's ; upwards they clambered from Ramanella's and 

174 DREARY DAYS, 1881- 

Tlasua's ; all in hot haste to make one more combined and 
successful attempt upon the hateful and still remaining loyal 
centre. In twenty minutes we were completely surrounded, and 
for six hours — from sunset until one in the morning when the 
moon went down — an incessant fusilade was kept up ; but as our 
men were all well under cover only very few of them were hit. 
A desperate attack was, however, made upon the cattle kraal, 
which was built on the top of the crags to the south of the fortr 
and where the few head of cattle, remaining to our people from 
their once numerous flocks and herds, were jealously and 
unremittingly watched and guarded. The contest here was 
fierce and stubborn, and confined entirely to the two sections of 
the natives, who fought it out in native fashion. Twice did the 
rebels, through their superior numbers, succeed in scaling the 
walls of the kraal, but they were in the end driven off without 
having captured even a single calf. We never knew how many 
of our men lost their lives in this encounter, nor could we 
ascertain the losses of the enemy ; but the losses of the latter 
must have been much greater than our own, for the rocks were 
slippery with blood next morning, and we could mark the trail 
of the dead and wounded for a considerable distance where they 
had been carried away down the heights. 

With the setting of the moon the rebels drew off, taking their 
killed and wounded with them : the younger braves shouting to 
our men to look out for them next night, when they would come 
in still greater numbers, kill every loyal, and take every head of 
cattle in the place. '* Come on then," shouted the cattle guards 
in reply. ** Why don't you come on now that you have got the 
chance ? You are ten times our number, and yet you cannot 
eat us up ! You cowards ! You are a multitude, and we are 
only few, and yet you are not enough ! You must needs go 
home and get more help ! Bring your wives with you to help 
you, they will fight better than you ! Dog eaters,* we defy you ! 

♦ The name by which the rebels were first known in our district. They 
were afterwards called Mabel^te, and the loyals Matikete. 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 175 

We will pin you to the earth with our spears the moment you 
leap into the kraal. You shall never take a head of cattle from 
us again." 

They did not come the next night, nor did they ever attempt 
to get into the kraal again ; they had learnt too lasting a lesson 
for that. 

Fruitless skirmishes were now the order of the day on both 
sides. The rebels kept henceforth at a respectful distance^ 
rarely coming within a mile of the camp ; but every few day& 
there would be a small encounter, generally at or near the 
Kimberley Kopje. 

On one occasion a strong detachment of our men went out 
before daylight to ascend Sebotoane with the object of dispersing 
about 2,000 of Joel's bravest warriors, who were bent on forming 
an encampment on the mountain, from which they might sally 
down upon us, and give us a good deal of trouble whenever they 
pleased. They were driven off and dispersed, but not without 
serious loss to ourselves, and not before our ammunition had 
almost failed. Our men retired slowly down the mountain and 
came back to camp, bringing their dead and wounded with them. 
Had Joel's warriors only known that their ammunition was 
spent, it is certain that they would have allowed very few of 
them to return to Thlotse to tell the tale. 

Among the killed on this occasion was a personal friend of 
my own, Mr. Ernest Saunders, a young Englishman who had 
been residing at a trading station close to Leribe before the out- 
break of the rebellion. He was a bright, intelligent young 
fellow, a Roman Catholic by birth, and had been educated by 
the Jesuits at their school at Stonyhurst. When I first became 
acquainted with him, I found that, like many other educated 
and thoughtful men, he had revolted from the Eoman Church in 
disgust at its superstitions, and had unhappily, as is often the 
case with such men, lost his faith in the Incarnation likewise; 
but he seemed grateful for any little kindness shown him, and 

176 DREARY DAYS, 1881. 

f30on began to ride ovei- to S. Saviour's every Sunday to attend 
the English service, usually spending the remainder of the day 
with us at the Mission. I never heard a word against his moral 
character or conduct, and he was fast regaining his faith in the 
cardinal truths of Christianity when the war broke out. The 
establishment in which he was a clerk was looted and burnt, 
and he then offered himself to the Government for active service, 
having already gained some experience in military affairs in the 
Zululand campaign of the previous year. He was appointed to 
the command of the Native Mounted Police, and fell in this his 
first engagement. Two of his men were killed with him ; one a 
heathen, the other — Sergeant Jeremia — a Christian, and by 
common consent the bravest non-commissioned officer in the 
little force. There were only twenty- three police in the action, 
and they were quickly marked out and surrounded. A rush with 
the assagai followed, and the three men perished, my poor friend 
receiving five assagai stabs, any one of which would have been 
fatal. One assagai had pierced right through him, and had 
stuck so fast that in order to extract it it was necessary to place 
the foot upon the young fellow's lifeless body. 

Another promising officer cut off in early manhood in his 
very first encounter was Captain Hanson, of the Transvaal 
Horse, who was shot down with some of his men while charging 
the enemy, revolver in hand, on the slopes of the Kimberley 
Kopje. He was a favourite with the whole of his regiment, and 
his death was greatly lamented. 

A few weeks afterwards Major Laurence, fche officer in 
•command of the Kimberley Horse, met his death exactly in the 
«ame manner, and almost at the same spot. Brave and accom- 
plished, having the interests of his men more at heart than his 
own, and gifted in no small degree with military talents of the 
highest order, he was the idol of his regiment. It will be 
remembered that it was he who, at the risk of his life, rode 
forward alone in advance of his men to bring the commandant 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 177 

of the garrison the welcome news of their approach. He was 
mortally wounded while at the head of his men, waving his hand 
to cheer them to the charge, and died a few mmutes afterwards 
while being brought into camp. The body was laid on my own 
mattress in my own hut, and reverently cared for and guarded 
with a guard of honour until it was buried next day in the Mis- 
sion cemetery by the side of the others who had fallen in the 
field. He was beloved and mourned by all, and the whole 
garrison turned out at the funeral and followed his remains to 
the grave. 

Our old friend Ntoana, the native mentioned in a preceding 
chapter as the builder of our huts, also met his death during the 
campaign, though not near the same spot. A troop of the 
Transvaal Horse had been ordered out to Tsikoane on a foraging 
expedition for fuel, the Thlotse being then fordable ; and 
Jonathan, thinking that their presence would be a protection to 
him, endeavoured to get two waggon loads of mealies into camp 
from the Free State by that route. His men were greatly in 
want of food, and he undertook this hazardous and unwise 
venture on their behalf ; and that, too, without acquainting the 
military authorities of his intention. The Transvaal troopers 
were therefore in ignorance of his presence on the south side of 
the Thlotse, and imagined that he was still in the camp. All 
went well until the chief and his little party were rounding the 
foot of the Tsikoane mountain, when they were suddenly 
attacked by a commando of the rebels, which had been lying in 
wait for them for some hours. The struggle which ensued was 
short and decisive. The waggon drivers, guards, and most of 
Jonathan's own body guard were killed — the short stabbing 
assagai doing its deadly work in a few minutes. Seventeen men 
perished ; among them our poor friend, who defended himself 
with great bravery until overpowered by numbers. Jonathan 
and the few men left then rode for their lives, and ultimately 
escaped into Free State territory. Probably the chief owed his 


deliverance more to his birth and position than to anything else ; 
for so great is the reverence of natives for their chieftains, 
especially for those of the house of Moshesh, that a *' inothu 
feela " — a common person — would hardly dare to lift a hand 
against one of them. It would be regarded as a species of 
sacrilege. Chiefs rarely fall except by the hand of other chiefs, 
but a stray bullet may find its way anywhere ; it is no respecter 
of persons. After their victory, the rebels carried off the waggons 
and their contents in triumph, leaving Jonathan the poorer in 
purse, provisions, and prestige. 

With so much continual warfare the chapel was in a ruinous 
condition : great gaping loopholes disfigured and injured its 
walls, and the roof was so pierced with bullet holes that the rain 
poured through in streams. It made one's heart ache to look at 
it. I tried in vain to get the authorities to remove the men who 
were quartered in it, and have the building repaired so that it 
might be used as a hospital. 

The surgeon, as skilful as he was humane, was indefatigable 
in his duties, but the sick and wounded were still lying under 
canvas in the fort, though fever and dysentery were rife ; and it 
was not until many months afterwards, when the volunteers 
were disbanded, and a solitary troop of the Cape Mounted Eifles 
was left in their place, that better arrangements were made. 

To add to our miseries, that year's rainy season was 
unusually wet and prolonged. It rained almost incessantly 
during the months of February, March, and April. So persis- 
tent was the deluge that the rain would sometimes come down in 
torrents, as it only can in Africa, for a whole week together 
with hardly the least cessation. During these months we 
suffered much from want of food. Provisions were scanty, 
supplies could only be procured with extreme difficulty, and at 
famine prices, and there was often no fuel wherewith to cook the 
half ration of meal doled out morning by morning. Man and 
beast alike suffered the pangs of hunger. Often, when there was 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 179 

something in the way of food, there was nothing to cook it with ; 
and often when there was fuel there was Httle or no food to cook. 
The sentries on night duty suffered most. Sometimes they 
would have to be on picket duty the whole night. They would 
stand hour after hour in the driving, pitiless rain, their ears ever 
on the alert, and their eyes strained to the utmost in the inky 
darkness which reigned around, for it was at such times that the 
enemy was most dangerous. And in the morning, when they 
returned to their quarters, it was often impossible, sodden with 
wet, and exhausted as they were, to procure even a cup of coffee. 
Poor fellows, one's heart ached to see them ; and I did not 
wonder that the rank " Cape Smoke," of which, alas, there was 
always an abundant supply, was laid at such times under undue 

Towards the middle of March the rebels, failing to drive us 
from our position, began to get weary and dispirited. The four 
months' almost continuous warfare had been a stiain upon them 
as well as ourselves ; indeed, the native is rarely able to hold 
out in the field for more than three or four months together. 
His commissariat arrangements are not adapted to lengthy cam- 
paigns ; and what with poor feeding, constant action, and 
vigilant watching, he soon wears out, and requires to return 
home for a time, and rest. As the rebels had put almost the 
whole of their forces into the field from the very first, they had 
no reserves worthy of the name to fall back upon ; and, under 
such circumstances, it was inevitable that by the middle of 
March they should be tired out, and incapable of doing more 
than holding the positions already assured to them. 

Taking advantage of this lull in the tide of affairs, my col- 
league, Mr. Champernowne, came over from the Free State to 
stay at Thlotse for as many days as it might be possible to do so. 
I on my part was feeling jaded, and needed a change. So it 
was arranged that I should go to Ficksburg for a week, more or 
less. Mrs. Bell and other friends from Basutoland were in 

180 DREARY DAYS, 1881. 

refuge there, and I should be able to see my little daughter. 
Moreover, I had been suffering of late from neuralgia, and it was 
hoped that a change of diet as well as of scene, not to speak of 
a good, long, continuous sleep, might be beneficial in every way. 
Accordingly, I rode over to this prettily situated Free State 
village, and spent a very pleasant three days there. On the 
fourth a letter came from my brother priest to say that " a queer 
old man, who gave himself out to be a poet, had arrived at the 
station, and greatly desired to see me. He was * seeking a 
Government appointment,' requesting meanwhile food and 
shelter at the Mission." Mr. Champernowne added that *'he 
did not think the poor man quite right in his head," and that 
** he did not know what to do with him." 

Feeling now in better health and spirits, I thought it well to 
return at once, ere this erratic genius might take it into his head 
to burn down our remaining huts, or attempt some other thing 
equally unpleasant. So next morning after breakfast I saddled 
up and started homewards. The roads were in a sorry plight 
from the incessant rain, and one had to proceed carefully even 
on level ground ; while on the hillsides the paths were so slippery 
and worn out that riding down them was no easy matter either 
to man or beast. I had ridden about an hour's journey from 
the village when, nearly opposite the Zout Kop Hill, I perceived 
on the road before me a small group of our volunteers, evidently 
on their way to Thlotse, and as evidently the worse for liquor. 
One of them had just tumbled off his horse, and his comrades 
were trying to seat him again as firmly as they could in the 
saddle. I rode up to them, and finding that they were on their 
way home, offered to accompany them. The party consisted of 
five : a captain and a trooper of one regiment, and a sergeant 
and two troopers of another. They were all dressed in the 
usual Bedford cord uniforms of our volunteers, and were 
unarmed ; and they had evidently been on leave in Ficksburg, 
where, apparently, they had been drinking deeply. The officer, 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 181 

to his credit, was the least tipsy of the party, and he and one of 
the troopers were sober enough to recognise me, which they did 
seemingly with a pleasure not unmixed with some degree of 
shame. One of the others was madly intoxicated, a second good 
humouredly so, and the third helplessly. It was, of course, this 
latter who had fallen off his animal. Finding them in this 
plight, and knowing the condition of the roads, I thought it best 
to ride with them and see them safely into camp. Eain was 
again threatening, and I knew that if they missed their way, and 
were left in the veldt all night, the exposure would certainly do 
them harm, and might even cause their death. Such a thing 
had happened more than once before. 

They gladly accepted my offer, and the hilarious brother 
forthwith proceeded to draw from his pocket the remains of a 
bottle of brandy, which he quickly despatched before my eyes. 
Happily they had no more liquor with them, so there was at least 
a hope that we might all reach home in safety. We had only an 
hour and a half's ride before us, but it took us four hours to 
accomplish it. The human log would insist on falling off his 
pony into the mud from time to time, his facetious comrade 
cracking jokes at his expense while placing him again in the 
saddle. The madman glared wildlyjabout him for some time, 
and then, after having delivered a volley of oaths and impreca- 
tions, clasped his horse round the neck, and relapsed into 
silence. The others said and did but little. 

In this way we proceeded slowly on our way along a fairly 
level road until we reached the *' kloof" or gorge in the moun- 
tains on the Free State side of the Caledon, over against 
Thlotse. Going down this gorge was the reverse of easy. The 
track was full of holes and very slippery. Moreover, it was so 
narrow that two men could barely ride abreast on it. We 
descended at a snail's pace, cautiously, saying little or nothing to 
one another. Even the merry brother had become silent. It 
required all our care to steer our way in safety, especially with 
one of our number so helplessly incapable. 

182 DREARY DAYS, 1881. 

On we went, splish splash in the mud and slush, two abreast, 
when suddenly the man with whom I was riding — who happened 
to be the madly drunk one — to the amazement of the whole 
party, pulled out of his breast pocket a six-chambered revolver, 
and shouting 'VKafirs ! " ''Eebelsl" and I know not what, 
deliberately aimed at me, and had fired three times before the 
captain (who was immediately behind him), with the cry of 
*'My God! " could spring forward and wrench the pistol from 
his hand. I was riding so close to the man that our horses 
constantly touched each other. He had jBred three shots at my 
luckless head, which was barely a yard distant, and yet not one 
of them had touched me ! 

I have had several narrow escapes in my life, but I never had 
a narrower one than that. The whole thing happened in a 
moment, and I suppose the bullets missed me because we were 
moving forward at an irregular pace as the madman fired. Or 
there may perhaps be another explanation. I was riding at his 
right, on the off side of him, and, therefore, on lower ground; 
and as the path was a very sloping one, the shots probably went 
over my head. But, whatever the explanation may be, does not 
much matter ; all I know is that the three shots whizzed past 
me as they were fired, and that I remained unhurt. " All's well 
that ends well." The man was now disarmed, and, thank God, 
I was safe. 

Then there ensued a scene which would have been ludicrous 
had it not been somewhat dangerous. His four companions 
wanted to lynch him on the spot for attempting to murder me I 
They yelled, and the horses plunged, while I expostulated and tried 
to screen him ; my facetious friend made frantic efforts to drag 
him down from his saddle ; and even the helpless lout, who had 
hitherto taken notice of nothing, roused himself, and joined in 
his idiotic way in the general confusion and hubbub. Certainly 
the poor, patient, dumb beasts we were riding seemed to be 
much more sensible than their masters, for it was only by their 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 183 

surefootedness, and dogged determination to stick to the path, 
that we arrived safely at the bottom of the glen. 

The Caledon was fairly high — quite high enough to wet us — 
and just as we got into the middle of it the rain began to come 
down in torrents, drenching us all through and through to the 
skin. In half an hour we arrived safely home, though in a half 
drowned condition ; the whole party sober enough now, with the 
exception of my friend of the six-shooter, who still appeared 
bereft of his senses, and was speedily confined to the guard tent 
on a charge of attempting to murder the chaplain ! Poor fellow, 
he was sober enough the next morning ; and when, fortunately 
for him, I succeeded in begging him off, and getting the case 
quashed, he came to me in real distress of mind at what had 
occurred, declaring — what, I am sure, was perfectly true — that 
he knew nothing whatever about it, and protesting that I was 
the last person on earth he would have thought of injuring. 

So much for the effects of drink. 

What a curse it was at Thlotse, and along the Free State 
border, in those days, every volunteer or official who was 
engaged in the campaign will well remember. 

The rained ceased as I reached the door of my hut. I was 
just about to enter it when I heard a strange voice accost me in 
the blandest of accents, and, on turning round, I beheld before me 
the *' poet." Yes, there he was ; evidently an eminently respect- 
able member of society ; important, benevolent, and voluble. 
He was a veritable Pecksniff. It is needless to say that he was 
scrupulously attired in black, and held in his hand a portly and 
ancient umbrella — an article quite unknown at the camp at that 
time. Such sort of people always do carry about with them a 
substantial-looking and capacious umbrella ; though why, I never 
could quite make out. 

Our new friend introduced himself at once with all the 
unctuous pomposity imaginable. '' He was a poet by profession, 
and had recently come from Australia." Australia, the abode of 

184 DREARY DAYS, i€8i. 

the Muses, thought I. There is hope now even for South 
Africa ! 

But even poets are not always exempt from the reverses and 
troubles of ordinary mortals, and this was the ease with our 
friend. In blunt, but pathetic prose, he declared that he was 
*' hard up." Poets, he assured me, were*' hard up at times," 
and such was his case then ; and he had come to Thlotse 
•' hoping to obtain the post of Private Secretary to the Command- 
ant of the Garrison." *'He had no doubt that he would be 
able to obtain it with my kind recommendation.'' And so on, and 
so on, and so on. 

Then he offered to recite one of his poems to me, '* feeling 
sure that I should admire it." This was too much. ** Sir," I 
said, **do you think that a man wet to the skin after a four 
hours' ride in the rain and the mud, his teeth chattering from 
cold, and his body shivering from clamminess, could be captiv- 
ated by any verse whatsoever — however majestic or mellifluous ? 
Do you not think that even Shakespeare himself would pall 
under such circumstances ? " 

With the blandest of smiles he allowed that it might be so. 
Good man, he was human after all. 

'' I will see you this evening," said I ; and, so saying, turned 
into my hut and at once took a bath — the best preventative of a 
cold, after having been thoroughly wet through, that I know of, 
at all events in South Africa. A cold bath, with plenty of 
friction while drying, and a hot cup of coffee afterwards : it 
sounds '* Homceopathic," but, however that may be, it is true; 
though perhaps it might not suit every constitution. 

The old gentleman was never tired of reciting his composi- 
tions. He thoroughly believed in them, which was, no doubt, 
quite natural. As for ourselves, we were not gifted with such 
robust faith, and he used sometimes to try our powers of repres- 
sion very cruelly by insisting on spouting what he called his 
** masterpiece " — a ** poem " on Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 185 

Choking with suppressed laughter we listened to him as he burst 
forth in his most magniloquent manner — 

^'O Queenly Isabella I" 

The turgid bathos of this production was overpowering, and 
suggested various parodies, one of which 

" O Gingham Umbrella ! " 

was frequently upon our lips, though, happily for himself,* our 
poet guest knew it not. 

It is needless to say that our friend was unsuccessful in 
obtaining the post he sought. But he accepted his disappoint- 
ment with quite a Pecksniffian air of resignation ; came down 
from his stilts, and informed me that in lieu of anything better 
he '' would not disdain to accept the humble position of tutor to 
the younger members of a genteel family." 

Poor dear, he often used to bore us when we were particularly 
busy, and came one morning with a profoundly solemn counte- 
nance to ask our advice as to his future. Two courses of duty 
presented themselves to him, he said ; and he was in doubt 
which to follow. One was to go into the Hooge Veldt, one of 
the most monotonous flats in the Orange Free State, and unite 
himself in matrimony to a wealthy Boer widow with nine 
children residing on a sheep farm there ; to which lady he 
*' flattered himself that he was not altogether unacceptable; " 
the other was to proceed at once to Europe, and enter a monas- 
tery connected with the severest order in Christendom ! It is 
needless to say that he did neither. 

We kept him at the Mission for some weeks, and eventually 
succeeded in getting him a tutorship in a respectable Boer 
family, living at no great distance from us ; but he did not 
remain there long. He left suddenly for Natal, after borrowing 
over five pounds from the confiding Boer, and was never heard 
of more. 

186 DREARY DAYS, 1881. 

We have had, from first to last, all kinds of curious people at 
our station, but I think our poet was the most original of them 
all. At this time especially the place was full of some of the 
most remarkable specimens of the human race. It was, of 
course, the w^ar which had brought all these together. The 
volunteers of the three regiments forming our camp were not 
only men of every grade of society, but of all races and 
nationalities. Englishmen, Irishmen, Scotchmen, Canadians, 
Australians, Africanders, Americans, Germans, Swedes, Norwe- 
gians, Danes, Hollanders, Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, Poles, 
and even a Corsican, were to be found in their ranks. Nay, one 
of them told me pathetically one day that he had no country at 
all. '' I was born in a haystack/' said he, " and the cow ate up 
my country." 

Their religious beliefs were hardly less varied. Not only was 
every form of Christianity represented, from the most extreme 
Romanism to the wildest and newest sect of yesterday, but there 
were also Agnostics, Deists, Theosophists, Fatalists, and believers 
in the Anglo-Israel theory. " Many men, many minds ; " and 
so we found it. 

As to social position, reckoned on the score of birth, they 
ranged from scions of noble houses down to the village barber 
and the navvy. Promotion from the ranks was the general rule, 
and many of the troopers and non-commissioned officers were 
quite the equals of the officers who commanded them. In such 
a body of men, hastily recruited and thrust together cheek by 
jowl, there was of necessity a considerable sprinkling of roughs, 
nay, even blackguards ; but I am bound to say that I never 
received a rude word from any of them. The language of a. 
military camp is by no means choice ; but I do not remember 
that bad language was ever indulged in in my presence ; and 
otten at night when going my rounds between the lines, as the 
shadow of my cassock was caught sight of against the tents, I 
have heard exclamations like the following : '' Dry up there,. 

DREARY DAYS, 1881. 187 

Bill ; don't you see who is passing ? " Or, " Look out, old man ; 
draw it mild ; the chaplain is just outside." 

At times, when fuel was not to be had, and they were half 
starved with hunger, they would often, under cover of the night, 
steal out and appropriate any piece of wood or other fire -kindling: 
material they could lay their hands upon, even taking doors off* 
their hinges, and carrying them off to cook their food with ; but 
they never confiscated a single door of any of our Mission huts,, 
though I do not think I could have blamed them much had they 
done so. Perhaps it was because they knew that these huts had 
been so often the last resting places of their friends and com- 
rades who had fallen in the field, before they were finally com- 
mitted to the earth ; for the soldier has, in his way, very keen 
instincts of reverence and respect. Many of these men would 
come at times to a voluntary service in the ruined chapel, or in 
my study, and some few of them were communicants. 

It was touching to see the care and reverence with which 
they treated the dead. When some poor fellow was brought in 
to be laid on the couch of death, with a bullet through his 
brain, or half-a-dozen assagai stabs in his body, his comrades 
would gather round and perform the last offices of love with the 
greatest delicacy and gentleness ; and at the prayers which 
followed, when the corpse had been carefully washed and laid in 
its blanket shroud, I have seen the strongest and most hardened 
weep and sob like little children, as they knelt around in the 
doorway of the hut, or on the ground outside. And before they 
were disbanded, at the end of the rebellion, each regiment gave a 
day's pay (it was their own suggestion) towards the enclosure of 
the hallowed spot where their dead lay buried. 

Poor fellows, they had a bad character throughout South 
Africa ; and no wonder. But they were not all bad, and had 
they been properly handled by such a man as Gordon, they 
might have been moulded into an '' Ever Victorious Army," as 
his volunteers were. 


Palm Sunday, the 17th April, was the last fighting day at 
Thlotse during the rebellion proper, or ** gun war,'* as it came 
afterwards to be called. 

We had but barely finished our celebration of the Holy 
Eucharist (which, I am thankful to say, was kept up almost 
•every Sunday in one of our huts all through the troubles), when 
shots were heard in the neighbourhood of the camp of the 
Transvaal Horse on the hill opposite. The rebels had planned a 
surprise. Half an hour before they were nowhere to be seen ; 
now they poured down upon us from all quarters. In a few 
minutes every man was at his post, and from 9 o'clock till noon 
the firing was almost continuous. Happily there was little or 
no work for the assagai that day, neither party having come to 
close quarters ; and by half-past twelve the enemy was beaten 
off, and retired sulkily to the heights of Sebotoane. 

In the afternoon a flag of truce came in with the informa- 
tion that Lerothodi, the insurgent general, whose head-quarters 
were two days' journey from us to the south, had sued for peace. 
An armistice followed, which ended finally in a treaty of peace 
being agreed upon between the majority of the rebel leaders and 
the Government. 

In June an event took place which cast a deep gloom over 
the whole place. Our kind friend Colonel Bell died, worn out 
prematurely with the worries and the follies of both the con- 
tending parties in this miserable and abortive strife. That he 
was deeply respected for his integrity and personal rectitude goes 
without saying, and his loss was for a long time felt, at times 
severely, throughout the district. Even the rebel leaders 
mourned his untimely decease, and followed his remains with 
lamentations to the grave. 

Soon after this sad event Mrs. Bell removed to the Transkei, 
several hundred miles to the south of us, where her eldest son 
had been appointed to a magistracy in the Idutywa native 
reserve. She took with her my little daughter, of whom I now 


lost sight for several years. It was a new grief to be thus 
severed not only from friends of long standing, but also from 
my only child ; but I felt that it was safest to leave all in God's 
hands. Indeed, I was powerless to act otherwise. I did not 
feel justified in leaving the work to which God had called me 
in Basutoland, and that was the only alternative. I had *^ put 
my hand to the plough,'' and it would not do now to "look 


PATCHiNa UP A Peace. 

Cessation of Hostilities— Reversal of Government Policy— Peace at 
any Price— Efforts of the New Governor— Departure of Col. Griffith — 
The Forces Disbanded— Results of the War— Scourges, Moral and 

The winter of 1881 was indeed a dreary time : everything 
seemed hopeless. The Government had been foiled in their 
endeavour to enforce disarmament, and now a new Cabinet came 
into office whose one object it was to bring the war to an end 
and make peace — peace on any terms and at any price, with 
the practically victorious rebels. Sir Bartle Frere had beea 
recalled, and Sir Hercules Kobinson had succeeded him. 
Lerothodi, the ablest of the Basuto chiefs, took in the political 
situation at a glance. 

He saw that the attempt of the ministry had proved abortive 
and had been discredited, thanks mainly to the efforts of himself 
and his friends. He knew also that in England there had 
been a change of Ministry, and that the new Cabinet took no 
pains to conceal their disapproval of what had been done in 
Basutoland. A change of Governors meant a change of policy, 


and Lerothodi saw his chance. He knew that his aUies were 
^11 but exhausted, and that if the forces of the Government could 
but hold their positions for another month or two, they would in 
all probability succeed in dispersing the insurgent bands now 
Toaming about the country. Natives cannot endure the hardships 
and privations of a winter campaign in a country like Basutoland ; 
ivhile, on the contrary, the white man prefers the bright dry 
days and cold frosty nights of June and July for military 
operations. And Lerothodi knew well that, were he once 
thoroughly beaten, it would be almost impossible for him to 
rally his scattered forces. Great numbers of the waverers, who 
had hitherto cast in their lot with him, would go over to the loyal 
side the moment the Government became victorious. 

There was, too, a still greater danger looming in the distance. 
How were he and his friends to procure food when their present 
supplies came to an end ? Native tribes live only from hand to 
mouth, and it would be impossible to plough and sow with the 
country convulsed by war. The loyal natives would, of course, 
be fed by the Government. They had lost their lands, and, 
therefore, had none to cultivate. But to Lerothodi and his 
following these lands would be useless, as well as their own. 
The Basuto General saw hunger staring him in the face. He 
was fully alive to the danger of his position, and resolved, there- 
fore, to seize the opportunity to make peace. 

Thus both parties were anxious to bring the campaign to an 
end ; the Government appearing to be even more eager for peace 
than the rebels. Masupha, indeed, still held out, declining partly 
from jealousy, and partly from his innate obstinacy of disposition, 
to submit to the dictation of an inferior. But Lerothodi had 
his father, the Paramount Chief, on his side, and he was so con- 
vinced of the necessity of coming to terms with the Government 
that he resolved to act without his uncle, and accordingly made, 
as we have seen, overtures of peace. These overtures were 
gladly, nay greedily, clutched at and accepted. '' Peace ; peace 


at any price " was now the cry both at the Cape and in Downing 
Street ; and, in their desire to bring the war to an end, the Cape 
Ministers were ready to go any lengths in the direction of conces- 
sion or accommodation. 

As I have said. Lerothodi made his first overtures on the 
17th April, and on that day a conference was held between him 
and Col. Griffith, the Governor's Agent, near the village of 
Molipa. The old ministers had not yet gone out of office, though 
it was clear to everyone that the Cabinet was moribund. It could 
not survive the advent of a new Governor and of the new policy 
he brought with him, backed up as that was by all the moral 
influence of the Enghsh Colonial Office ; and, accordingly, 
when his Excellency offered to mediate between his Ministers 
and the Basuto chiefs the offer was at once accepted. 

The Governor, on hearing that Lerothodi had sued for peace, 
proclaimed an armistice, and a few days afterwards, on the 29th 
April, put forth his '' Award," which certainly could not be said 
to err on the side of severity towards those who had been in arms 
against the Government. The Award was accepted by both the 
belligerents ; and had it been adhered to, the loyal Basutos would 
have secured a fair indemnity for their losses, together with the 
prospect of being able to return to their ruined homes and culti- 
vate their lands. But the rebels, while professing to accept it, 
took good care to evade its most important provisions — those, 
namely, which bound them to restore to their rightful owners 
the cattle which they had taken from the loyals ; and the new 
ministry, which had meanwhile come into office, and endeavoured 
to reverse, as far as possible, the policy of their predecessors, 
prevailed upon the Governor to have it cancelled altogether, 
while pledging themselves to secure to the loyals a just com- 
pensation for their losses. But this pledge, though solemnly 
and publicly reiterated on several occasions, was only partially 
and inadequately carried out. The rebellion had cost the Cape 
Colony almost four millions, and the Cape Parliament was in no 


mood to add to its burdens. The final result of the promise was 
that Jonathan and his people did, after long intervals, receive 
two instalments of the amount due to them ; but the third has 
never yet been paid, and nobody, I suppose, now thinks that it 
ever wdll be. 

Col. Griffith, the Governor's Agent, a most capable and 
experienced official, did not see his way to accept the new 
policy ; and he was, therefore, granted a year's leave of absence, 
upon the expiration of which he was placed upon the pension 
list, to the regret of everyone in the country. He knew only too 
well, from a dearly-bought experience, what everyone comes to 
know who has to deal with natives, that the worst of all policies 
is to threaten and not to punish, and to promise and not 
perform. He did not consider the new policy a righteous one, 
and he had the courage of his convictions. He was therefore 
sacrificed to the political expediency of the moment. 

The black man has a keen sense of justice, and a thorough 
appreciation of strength of purpose. You may govern him with 
a tight rein if you will ; and though, in that case, he can hardly 
be expected to like you, he will, nevertheless, respect you as long 
as he sees and knows that your rule is just and righteous. 
Moral rectitude in the white man is everything with him, but 
scoldings and threats are only signs of weakness ; and a promise 
unfulfilled or evaded destroys in his breast all respect for the 
maker of it. 

This sudden reversal of policy on the part of the Government ; 
this determination to meet the rebels more than half way — nay, 
to regard them as oppressed and injured patriots, suffering for 
their fatherland and their rights — did not commend itself to 
either party among the Basutos. The rebels regarded it as a 
sign of weakness, and treated it with ill-disguised contempt ; the 
loyals knew that it meant to them social ostracism and loss, per- 
haps even absolute destruction. ** Ba etsa jualeka bana " — 
'' they act like children,'' said an influential chief to me one day 


when the news of this sudden reversal of policy came to us. He 
could noi understand the action of the Cape ministers. It was 
a complete puzzle to him ; and he only reflected the general 
opinion of the people. 

The new Secretary for Native Affairs and other officials from 
Capetown now appeared upon the scene, travelling in hot haste 
through the country, and disbanding the forces everywhere with 
the utmost speed. Within a month there was not a man left, 
with the exception of the small regiment of Cape Mounted Eifles ; 
a troop of which, numbering about sixty men, was now stationed 
at Thlotse. These sixty men were placed there for show rather 
than for anything else, it being understood that they were to 
adopt an attitude of non-intervention between the Matikete and 
the Mabelete should these again attempt to fight. But we felt 
that, for the present at any rate, Thlotse was safe. It was the 
depth of winter, and both parties were exhausted by the struggle. 
Hostilities were, therefore, not likely to break out again until 
ploughing-time, which would, at least, secure to us two or three 
months of peace. As to the future, we feared, and as the event 
proved rightly, that the time was not yet come when the two 
contending parties would consent to *' beat their swords into 
plough shares, and their spears into pruning hooks." 

On the 10th May I had written to the Bishop describing the 
condition of affairs, and summing up my report in these words : 

' ' Mr. Champernowne's place has entirely disappeared. Your lordship 
would not know it in the least. Even a part of the main foundation of the 
training college has been dug up. We have had a large tent made, which, 
with our remaining huts, must serve us until we can build. The armistice 
has come to an end, but it will probably be renewed, as the Government 
seem bent upon making 'peace upon almost any terms. It is the general 
conviction here that a patched-up peace, such as the one proposed, can never 
last. The rebel party will break out again in the spring, as soon as they 
have got their harvest in. Meanwhile the loyal natives, so cruelly aban- 
doned, are wringing their hands, as well they may. It certainly does not pay 
to he loyal. ^^ 


And later, on the 18th August, I wrote as follows as to the 
political situation : — 

' ' I regret to say that affairs in Basutoland are still in a very unsettled 
state. Four months have been spent in endeavouring to patch up a peace 
with the leading rebel chiefs, but up to this time very little substantial 
progress has been made. Lerothodi in the south, and Joel in this district, 
are said to be anxious for peace, and have expressed their willingness to 
accept the terms offered them by the Governor; but Masupha and Kama- 
nella still hold back, and are said to be threatening a fresh attack upon 
Maseru. A large number of loyal refugees, chiefly women and children, 
have lately settled here, 3,000 of whom — all heathen— are at our very 

The results of the war may be summed up in a few words : 
loss of British prestige, a Colonial debt of four millions, and the 
alienation of a great tribe. The Colony had gained nothing 
and lost much by its futile attempt to disarm the Basutos. Nay 
more, the sudden change of front, issuing in the virtual surrender 
to the rebels of all that they asked for — for, of course, they were 
allowed to keep their guns — struck a direct blow at the confi- 
dence of the law abiding section of the people in the British 
Government, whether Imperial or Colonial. These latter had 
incurred, as we have seen, all kinds of obloquy, had shed their 
blood, had lost their lands and cattle, in fact everything that 
they possessed, on behalf of a power which had suddenly deserted 
them in the hour of their greatest need. Bitter and deep was 
the feeling of injury — the feeling of injustice and wrong — which 
rankled in the breasts of these faithful allies of England, when 
they saw themselves thus abandoned to the mercy of their 
enemies. There was no guarantee worthy of a moment's 
thought that they would be able to return to their ruined homes, 
and sow their fields for the coming harvest. A few, indeed, did 
attempt to do so, but they were so effectually harassed and boy- 
cotted that life became a burden, and they gave up the attempt 
in despair, returning to their intrenchments at the camp. 

PATCHING aP A PEACE, 1881. 195 

Throughout the whole northern district the loyals only regained 
the possession of their lands, and a portion of their flocks and 
herds, through their own strong arm, in the inter-tribal war 
which followed that of the rebellion. This struggle was pro- 
tracted for four years, during which time the loyals under 
Jonathan and his captains recovered inch by inch, by their 
persistent patience and splendid courage, the ground they had 
lost, the Government looking cynically on while the two parties 
'* fought it out." For the few Europeans who remained in the 
country this was not only, as we shall see, a time of personal 
danger and discomfort, but a time which made men blush for 
the tarnished honour of the English name. 

There were other results of the gun war which ought not to 
be passed over, leaving as they did a baleful trail behind them. 
These were both moral and physical, the former being especially 
harmful in their influence and their outcome ; indeed, it may be 
said with perfect truth that this miserable campaign did much 
to permanently lower the morals of the Basuto people. 

Given a mob of natives huddled together for well nigh a year 
in a hot climate, and a small space, with an utter absence of the 
simplest sanitary regulations, and we know what the result will 
be. This was the case with us. The very atmosphere became 
tainted, and typhoid fever raged throughout the place. Fester- 
ing corpses of man and beast polluted the air all around. The 
'* slums " in the centre of the camp, where the fugitives were 
cooped up closest, were in a shocking condition, and grew worse 
and worse as time went on. Crowds of men, women, and child- 
ren came flocking into Thlotse, which bad now become the one 
great camp of all the loyals of the country, and the stronghold of 
all who followed the banner of Jonathan. To their honour be 
it said, the little band of Christians in the place did what they 
could, both by influence and example, to mitigate the misery and 
diminish the filth, keeping their own huts neat and tidy, and 
the approaches to them as clean as circumstances would permit. 


Moreover, small parties of them, headed by the veteran 
Nathan aele, went forth outside the camp, as soon as peace was 
proclaimed, and it was safe to do so, and buried the skeletons of 
their foes still lying on the battlefields around, the vultures and 
wild dogs having, in most cases, picked the bones quite clean. 
But fever had got too firm a hold upon the place to be easily 
dislodged. It raged on violently, and with it dysentery. Dr, 
Taylor was in attendance night and day, completely overworked ; 
nurses, at least for the natives, there were none. Men and 
women were dying daily, and the survivors, cowed and dazed at 
the turn which events had taken, looked on in sullen apathy and 

Those who escaped the fever were attacked from time to time 
by violent fits of nausea and vomiting, which would come on 
quite suddenly and unexpectedly, especially at meal times. 
These were sometimes as distressing as they were inconvenient, 
but they usually passed off in a few hours, and I do not remem- 
ber that any evil results followed them. 

A more serious trial was that of opthalmia, which became so 
common that hardly anyone in the place, either black or white, 
escaped it. 

To add to these miseries there was at the same time quite a 
plague of flies. I have seen these little creatures very numerous 
in the summer at the sheep farms in the Karoo, but I never 
witnessed anything to equal the swarms of them that settled 
down upon us at this time. They were so numerous, so persis- 
tent, and so irritating, that they became what I have termed 
them — a veritable plague. They were loathsome and poison- 
laden too, and it was the general impression that they were the 
chief cause of the ophthalmia from which we suffered. I have 
no doubt that this was so in my case, for I had escaped the 
malady for a considerable time, and had begun to hope that I 
might do so altogether, when one day a fly settled for a moment 
on my right eyelid. I felt a sudden burning sensation when the 


insect settled down — something like the sting of a scorpion, but 
by no means so acute — and then in a few minutes the eyelid 
began to swell, and the mischief was accomplished. The one 
eye quickly affected the other ; and the result was that for eight 
days I was laid upon my back in a darkened hut, with eyes 
swollen, sore, and smarting from pain. Mr. Champernowne 
had been attacked in the same way a short time before, and 
suffered, I think, even more acutely than I did. Our good 
doctor was indefatigable as usual, doing his utmost to mitigate 
the pain of his many patients, and supply eye lotions to all who 
were suffering, until one day he succumbed likewise, and was 
laid up with a severe attack which completely prostrated him. 
For ten days not a ray of light was allowed to enter his chamber, 
and it was not until many weeks had elapsed that he quite 

These were miseries enough, the reader will think ; but there 
was one evil more, greater than all these, from which the natives 
now began to suffer : an evil which cannot be referred to here 
further than to say that it was the direct outcome of licentious- 
ness and vice. This loathsome and terrible disease was but 
rarely met with anywhere in the country before the war, but it 
now became rampant, and, sad to say, has remained ever since. 
Two years ago it had so infected every district, and its ravages 
had become so dangerous to the community generally, that the 
Government officials were roused to make a united and 
determined attempt to stamp out the dreadful scourge. That 
this attempt has largely proved successful is matter of great 
thankfulness to all who have the welfare of the Basutos at heart. 

Yet another evil must, I fear, be regarded as the heritage of 
this untoward time — that of dishonesty. Before the rebellion no 
one thought of locking a door, or scrupled to leave all kinds of 
property outside his house should necessity so require. But now 
the natives rapidly became adepts in the art of '* picking and 
stealing." They had never scrupled to do a little in the way of 

198 REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 

cattle lifting whenever the opportunity presented itself, but other 
forms of depreciation were rare among them. But now pilfering 
became a settled habit with many, and I greatly fear that they 
learnt it from the more dishonest among the white volunteers,, 
many of whom, if the truth were told, had been by no means un- 
acquainted with the inside of a gaol. But during the last three 
or four years there has been, I am glad to say, an improvement 
in this respect, and there is now, one would fain hope, a prospect 
of a gradual reversion to the former condition of things, when 
doors needed neither lock nor bolt, and everyone's goods and 
chattels were secure. 

But it is time to leave these unsavoury subjects, and turn our 
thoughts to the Mission and its prospects. 


Reorganization . 


Reorganization of the Mission — The Compensation Question — 
Abandonment of the Native Training College Scheme — Death of Mrs, 
Woodman — Visit of General Gordon. 

Though the spring of 1881 brought with it little or no prospect 
of a substantial and permanent settlement of the affairs of the 
country, yet hostilities were for a time at an end. We therefore 
thought it our duty to endeavour, as far as was possible, to 
reorganize the Mission. And here let me remind the reader that,. 
when I speak of *' Spring,*' I am referring not to the earlier 
months of the year, but to the later — to the months of September 
and October. 

The Mission chapel was restored to us at the end of July„ 

REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 199 

when the garrison vacated it, and we turned our first thoughts 
towards its cleansing and repair. It was indeed in a sorry 
condition. Its walls were full of holes, its windows without a 
single pane of glass in them, and its roof still riddled with shot- 
holes. Every time it rained the water streamed down from these 
holes as from a shower bath ; and besides this the earthen floor 
was furrowed all over, the walls besmeared and defiled with 
grease and filth, and the whole place alive with vermin. By the 
aid of friends in England, who had heard of our evil plight and 
who prayed daily for our deliverance, we were enabled to restore 
the building to some degree of decency and order. The walls 
were scraped and replastered both inside and out, new corrugated 
iron roofing was put up, the floor was relaid and resmeared, new 
windows replaced the old, the furniture that remained was 
repaired, thoroughly washed and cleaned, and in a few weeks we 
had the privilege and the joy of again being able to worship 
the Lord in His own House, and before His own Altar. The 
restoration of the schoolroom was, of course, accomplished at the 
same time, and, from a mission point of view, was only second 
to that of the chapel. Mr. Champernowne returned to us from 
the Orange Free State as soon as there was a prospect of peace, 
and at the end of September Mr. Reading came to us from 
Bloemfontein. My junior colleague was now in deacon's orders, 
and the school was reopened, and placed once more under his 
charge. Fifty children, the majority of whom were heathen 
in the utterly **raw" stage, entered it at once, and their 
numbers steadily increased. A native catechist, Alfred Motolo, 
soon afterwards entered the service of the Mission, taking the 
charge of the junior classes when not engaged in evangelistic 
work among the heathen in the surrounding villages. We 
greatly missed the services of Miss Champernowne, who had 
been married at Easter to the Eev. T. Woodman, then in 
temporary charge of the town of Harrismith during the abeyance 
of the work at Sekubu ; and the cares of housekeeping — no 

200 REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 

light burden as anyone knows who has undertaken it under such 
circumstances as ours — again devolved upon myself. 

We repatched and rethatched our rondavels and re-enclosed 
the garden, planting many young fruit trees, chiefly peaches and 
apples, to replace those which had been trodden down and 
destroyed during the year that the garden had remained unwalled 
and open to every passer by. 

There were now more than three thousand heathen at our 
doors, and among these we began to labour. Such a time of 
political and social ferment and upheaval was hardly favourable 
to the spread of the Gospel, yet, thanks be to God, several 
converts were then made who have continued faithful to their 
baptismal vows, and are still among the most regular communi- 
cants of the Mission. 

When the chapel was first taken possession of, andloopholed, 
and the garden walls thrown down, we were assured by the 
authorities that full compensation would be given to us by the 
Government for the damage done, or for any losses that the 
Mission, or we ourselves, might incur through the war. Forms of 
claim for damages were sent to us from Capetown, and these 
were carefully filled up, and the amounts of the claims attested 
and approved by the Basutoland executive. Nay, we were 
required to sign in duplicate a receipt for the amounts of our 
claims, with the promise of immediate payment. We signed 
these receipts, hut received nothing. After waiting in vain for 
several months we applied to the Colonial Secretary at Capetown 
for our money, when we were courteously, but decisively, informed 
that -no such documents as those signed by us were known at 
headquarters, and that no record of them existed. And our 
case was not singular : the traders and Europeans generally 
suffered in the same way. But in the September of the following 
year, 1882, a commission appointed by the Colonial Government 
to examine all claims for compensation arrived at Thlotse, and 
we were awarded — though not until the month of November, 

REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 201 

1883 — a portion* of the amount due. I hope we were grateful. 
We had given up all hope, and had not expected to receive a 
farthing ; so we took the money with a hearty '' thank you," on 
the principle that half a loaf is better than no bread. 

A considerable part of the amount claimed was in compensa- 
tion for the loss of the Training College building. Thi3 had been 
levelled to the ground by the troops, and even its site could 
hardly now be recognised. Its garden had of course gone also. 
Nor was this all. Some of the native refugees, who were still 
coming in in small parties, had taken possession of the ground, 
and built their huts upon it. It was therefore impossible for 
us to think of rebuilding the institution on its old site ; and, 
indeed, in view of the still unsettled state of the country, we 
considered it highly impolitic to attempt the establishment of a 
training school at all, until the advent of more propitious times, 
We therefore gave up the idea, and, with the consent of the 
donors of the original building fund, erected, as soon as the 
condition of the country warranted our doing so, a large and 
well-built schoolroom of burnt brick for our day schools, thereby 
supplying one great and increasing need of the Mission. 

On the Ash Wednesday of 1882 it pleased God to call to her 
eternal rest a third member of our little band of workers. This 
was Mrs. Woodman, who died, after a few days' illness, at a farm 
on the Free State side of the Caledon almost opposite our station. 
The Woodmans had made that place their headquarters after 
leaving Harrismith, Mr. Woodman having seized the first 
opportunity of returning to Sekubu, and it was while he was 
engaged in rebuilding the huts and reorganizing the work of his 
old Mission that this bereavement fell upon him. 

Mrs. Woodman was endeared to us all by her unaffected 
piety and gentleness, as well as by her untiring devotion to the 
work of Christ among the heathen. She was buried in the 

* This was for damage done to the buildings 61/ the Colonial forces ; no 
compensation being granted for that done by the rebels. 

202 REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 

Mission cemetery, now greatly enlarged through the war ; and her 
remains were followed to the grave by a large number of natives, 
who had learnt to love and esteem her for her labours among 
them. Their hearts, I am sure, went out in unison with our 
own to her stricken and desolate husband. Among the 
mourners was her brother Philip, a bright young fellow fresh 
from Oxford, who had come out to us on a visit to her and his 
elder brother, little dreaming that, in a few short weeks, he 
and his brother would be called upon to follow their sister to the 

The month of September, 1882, was a memorable one in the 
history of S. Saviour's, for in that month we received a visit 
from a very distinguished man — General Gordon, the hero of 

I shall ever account it one of the greatest privileges of my 
life to have been permitted to make the acquaintance of sO' 
remarkable a man. Certainly one would never have expected 
to do so at a place so utterly remote, and out of the world, as 
Thlotse. In common with other Englishmen, T had heard of 
^' Chinese Gordon," but seeing him face to face, and enjoying 
long conversations with him for hours together, was a. 
possibility never even dreamt of. Yet it did actually happen,, 
and in this wise. 

In the April of 1881 the General, distressed by what he had 
heard of the state of affairs in Basutoland, telegraphed to the 
Premier of the Cape Ministry, offering to go out to South Africa,, 
and assist in terminating the war, and reorganizing the adminis* 
tration of the country. 

** The Cape Government," says Sir W. F. Butler,* '* did not 
even think it necessary to reply to Gordon's offer of service." 
But '* early in 1882 the new Cape Government suddenly 
bethought them of the man whose telegram their predecessors 
had not troubled themselves to reply to. Basutoland had proved 

* Butler's Gordon, p. 180. 

REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 203 

too hard a nut for the Colonial forces to crack." ''Manifestly 
the sooner this very disreputable business was brought to an end 
the better for all parties. Would Gordon renew the offer he had 
made a year earlier ? Yes, he would." * 

The Ministry offered him the post of Commandant General 
of the Colonial Forces, and he was speedily on his way to the 
Cape. The appointment thus conferred on him necessitated his 
remaining in the Cape Colony for some months after his arrival ;. 
but in September he was free to proceed to Basutoland. He 
started at once, arriving in the country towards the end of the 
month in company with the Hon. J. W. Sauer, the new Secre- 
tary for Native Affairs. The Secretary's presence was urgently 
needed at Thlotse, and Gordon went northwards with him. 
Thus it was that I was privileged to meet him. 

He could only stay in the place three days, and was, of 
course, during the greater part of the time, busily employed in 
investigating the details of the quarrel between the Basutos and 
the Government, as well as the position and prospects of the 
loyal natives at the present crisis. Once in the heart of the 
country, he soon grasped the situation of affairs. 

With his enthusiastic love for Mission work he naturally felt- 
drawn to our Mission, and when he learnt from actual observa- 
tion how much our work had suffered, he deeply sympathized. 
with us in our misfortunes. The whole of his spare time at 
Thlotse was spent in my hut. I remember so well his first visit. 
to us. We were at breakfast, and he came in and joined us, 
sitting down on a bag of meal in lieu of a chair. The hut was 
mean and dilapidated. It had suffered grievously from the 
ravages of the war, and had not yet been properly repaired. It 
happened that that morning we had been unable to procure any 
meat, and there was therefore little upon the table except, 
mealie meal porridge, and coffee. 

* Ibid, p. 181. 

204 REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 

I apologized for the scanty repast we had to offer, and our 

uest answered, in his quick, bright way, that the simpler the 

food the better he liked it, and that he admired asceticism. I 

confess I felt very guilty, for the '' asceticism," if there was any, 

was by no means voluntary on my part. 

Then we adjourned to my own rondavel, and had a good long 
talk about the affairs of Basutoland, and the best method of 
righting them. The next day he came and stayed with me four 
hours — four of the most delightful hours I have ever spent in 
my life. The General smoked his cigarettes, and 1 my pipe of 
Transvaal, while we discussed Mission work and its methods, 
gradually sliding off into Theology, and ending with the symbol- 
ism of the Old Testament ritual. 

I have never yet met a man who knew the Bible — more 
especially the Old Testament — as he did. He was simply 
saturated with Scriptural knowledge, and knew by heart every 
provision of the Mosaic code. He had worked out in his own 
mind the symbolism of the Ceremonial Law down to its minutest 
details. I felt humbled and ashamed in the presence of this man 
*' mighty in the Scriptures " : a layman, great in his own profes- 
sion of arms, who had nevertheless found time, amid manifold 
duties and distractions, to study the Word of God so thoroughly 
that he put me, a commissioned ambassador of Christ, entirely 
to the blush. 

Now and then in these conversations his own well known 
peculiar views came out ; but they were at the worst quite harm- 
less — at least, so it seemed to me — and on the essentials of the 
** faith once delivered to the saints " he was sound, orthodox, and 
^Catholic to the core. He struck me as really humble minded, 
and penetrated with the mind and spirit of Christ. He had been 
drawn, he told me, '' to realize more and more the blessedness of 
sacramental union with Jesus," and had an intense longing for 
frequent Communion. '' One of my greatest trials," he said, 
^* is that I am so often placed in circumstances where 1 cannot 

REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 205 

get THE Beead — I mean the Sacramental food I value so 

Yet we know he never shrank from duty, or from going to 
places where no sacramental means of grace, or even of corporate 
religious worship, was to be had, when the call came to do so. 
He spent the best years of his life in places, and among scenes, 
where the great Sacrament of Love was unknown, or where it 
was impossible to have it celebrated. Even in his last hours, and 
heroic death, there was no last Communion, no Viaticum , for one 
whose longing for it was so intense. Perhaps after all he hardly 
needed it as much as we do : he was so spiritually minded, and 
lived so habitually in the invisible. In any case, we may be sure 
that this privation was abundantly made up to him in spiritual 
communion with his Lord and Master, for General Gordon was 
above all tJdn(/s a iiiaii of 'prayer. In the midst of great and 
manifold distractions he was constantly alone with God, and 
mental prayer was a settled habit of his life. 

There was about him, as we might have imagined, a dash of 
fatalism. He had spent long years in the wildnesses of Northern 
Africa, where this tone of mind is most marked ; and it was, 
perhaps, augmented by his natural tendency to mysticism. He 
often told me that he regarded himself " simply as an instru- 
ment, a tool — a very poor sort of tool, no doubt — but still a tool, 
an instrument in the Great Father's hands for carrying out His 
Divine purposes and will." Hence arose his fearlessness and 
absolute honesty of purpose. He feared no man ; and nothing 
would move him when he was once convinced of a certain truth, 
or a certain line of duty. 

Speaking on one occasion of the future, he said that '' he did 
not know where his lot would be cast, and he did not care so 
long as it would find him doing the will of God." 

He had already come to the conclusion that there was but 
little hope of his being able to agree with the plans proposed 
by the Government for Basutoland. He trusted neither the 


measures nor the men. Kightly or wrongly, he had come to 
regard them as crooked. ''I feel," he said, not long before 
he left us, ** as if I should go up yonder," pointing to where 
the chief officials were, '' and explode." 

I besought him to remain, were it in any way possible, telling 
him that, at such a crisis the future of the country was in his 
hands, and that if Masupha could be induced to listen to anyone, 
I felt sure it would be to him. Alas ! his foreboding was verified 
only too soon, as we all learnt to our cost. 

But penetrated as he was with the conviction that God had a 
certain work for him to do, or rather that he was the 
instrument for working out the Divine will under certain 
circumstances and conditions, there was with this conviction 
another — I am sure not less deep — the conviction of his own 
unworthiness. This he bewailed to me more than once ; and 
it was this humility of soul, this realization of his own frailty, 
which impelled him to cast himself daily and hourly at the 
feet of Christ in self-abasement. He longed to be like Christ, 
and have the mind of Christ, that he might be able in the 
spirit of Christ, and of Christ alone, to do the Father's will. 
And it was this aim that kept him straight as well as 
courageous. Without it I can imagine him becoming a 
fanatic : with it he was a devout soldier of God : an enthusiast 
if you will, but no fanatic. 

It goes without saying that such a man could not remain, 
unmoved when he came to know, by personal investigation, the 
wrongs which the loyals had suffered, not only at the hands 
of the rebel party, but also through the vacillation of the 
Government, and more especially through the sudden reversion 
of their policy. He no sooner knew the whole truth than, 
with the facts before him, he sought an interview with the 
loyal leader. 

"Jonathan," he said, ''I know all about you. I have 
heard everything, and I feel for you as much as one man can 


REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 207 

feel for another who has been wronged. Buc I cannot help 
you. I have no power or position to enable me to do so. I 
am only on a visit here, and have come up into the country 
to try to make peace. But because I feel for you, and know 
what you have suffered for your loyalty to the Queen of 
England, I will do the lifctle I can for you. That little is in 
the way of advice. I have no power or authority to do more. 
But I have seen many men of many nations, and some of 
them were in positions like yours. So 1 will give you my 
advice as a brother who feels for you ni your trouble, if you care 
to take it." 

The chief replied that *' he was most grateful to the General 
for his kindly greeting, and his words of sympathy. It was the 
first time he had heard such words from an officer of the Queen 
of England, or of her Government, for a very long time." 

" Well," said the General, *' this is my advice. Let nothing 
tempt you to desert the Queen of England, or her Government, 
whether it be her Government in England, or at the Cape. Do 
not join your enemies and rivals here merely for the sake of 
getting back the men who have deserted you. You will gain 
nothing by doing so, either from the Government or from the 
rebels. They will both of them despise you, and no one will 
believe in you. And do not expect the Government to help you 
now. They cannot. It is beyond their power at present, even 
if they wished to do so. Remain faithful and obedient, and 
then at some future time, when the wheel turns round once 
more, they will be able to help you and support your rightful 

" And then as to your people. Rule them justly and 
uprightly. Do not oppress them. Do not eat them up when 
you have the chance of doing so, as so many chiefs do. Be 
gentle with them, and show all the mercy you can. But, above 
all, be just, and straight, and upright in your dealings with 
them. Then you will gain their respect and their affection too. 

208 REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 

Then, you may depend upon it, before very long, all those men 
vv^ho have deserted you will gradually come back to you. They 
know that you are their lawful chief, and they will contrast your 
mild and just rule with the harsh methods of the other chiefs. 

^ ' You will thus have two ways of winning them back to you : 
your birthright, and your personal character. These will, I am 
sure, tell upon them now that the question of the guns is settled, 
and you will see that they will come back to you by twos and 
threes. Then, by and bye, when your position becomes strong, 
and your influence stronger, you iiill he able to use your faithful 
folloivers as a ivMp with which to fioy your enemies and reduce them 
to subjection. In that way you will recover, not only your right- 
ful position in the tribe, but also a great part of the cattle which 
has been taken from you." 

Jonathan Molapo was wise enough to take the advice thus 
tendered to him, and General Gordon's words were abundantly 
and literally fulfilled. The chief ruled his people firmly, but 
gently, doing all in his power to conciliate and attract waverers, 
until gradually his seven hundred men became more than a 
thousand. These he used, as we shall see in the course of this 
narrative, and used most efi:ectively, *' as a whip with which to 
flog his enemies," until the tables were completely turned, and 
he became, as he continues to-day, the most powerful, as well as 
the most loyal chief in Northern Basutoland. 

Just before leaving Thlotse, Gordon came into my rondavel^ 
and had a last talk about the Mission and its prospects. These 
were far from bright at the time, as the reader knows ; and I felt 
much cheered by our conversation, and by the General's hopeful 
and kindly words of sympathy and encouragement. Then he 
suddenly turned to me and said, '' How are you off for money ? " 
I told him that we had very little, but could not say that we were 
m immediate need of any, as we did not think it safe or prudent 
to venture upon erecting permanent buildings during the present 
unsettled state of the country. 

REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 209 

'' You will need some before long," he replied. *' You will 
need it when you begin to build, and I hope that will be soon. 
I wish I could give you more, but I shall be very glad if you will 
take the little mite I have to offer." 

So saying, he took out his purse, and put five sovereigns into 
my hand. 

I felt much touched by this spontaneous act of generosity 
towards a mission which had no sort of special claim upon him ; 
but, indeed, it was only in keeping with his lavish charities and 
manifold deeds of love at Woolwich and elsewhere. 

Then we went together into the House of God and prayed for 
•each other, for the work of the Mission, and for poor torn, 
distracted Basutoland, still bleeding from its wounds ; after 
which I said some collects from the Prayer Book, ending with 
the Apostolic Benediction. 

Half-an-hour afterwards the General was on his way south- 
wards to Masupha, and three days had barely elapsed when we 
heard, to our dismay, though hardly to our astonishment, that 
he had resigned his post, and was already on his way to 

How this happened is well known to many in South Africa, 
and has been already told to the world by an authority which few 
will question. In Sir W. F. Butler's words, '' it was necessary 
to get rid of this just steward. ... At last the opposition " (to 
Gordon) *' reached a culminating point. Three out of the four 
Basuto chiefs had agreed to terms ; the fourth, Masupha, still 
refused to accept magistrates and levy a hut tax. Gordon felt 
'Certain that if he could personally interview the chief, he, too, 
would accept the terms now offered. For this purpose he starts 
for Masupha's stronghold. It has been agreed between him and 
the head magistrate that no overt act of hostility was to be made 
against Masupha until Gordon had first tried his hand at 
personal negotiation. After that had failed, pressure might be 
applied. But no sooner had Gordon reached the Basuto chief's 

210 REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 

stronghold, and while he was yet negotiating with him, than 
news arrived that a hostile expedition was approaching. If 
Masupha Moshesh did not make the envoy pay with his life for 
this breach of all the rules of fair fighting, it was assuredly not 
because the men, who were at the bottom of this movement, had 
taken steps to prevent such a calamity. After this it was not 
possible to continue in the service of the Cape Government* 
Gordon resigned his post as Commandant General, and, 
embarking for England, arrived home early in the month of 
November, 1882." * 

I will only add to this that from what I have heard, and from 
what I know of Masupha personally, there was every chance of 
the negotiation succeeding, and of the obstinate old chief being 
induced to listen to reason, when the conference between the two 
men was thus broken in upon and brought to an end. Gordon 
had been too outspoken and too straight. He had told the 
Ministry and their supporters many unpalatable truths, and he 
must go. 

They certainly took the most effective means to make him 
throw up his commission. To stand before a heathen chief as a 
base deceiver was a position which General Gordon, of all men, 
would never consent to occupy, and his opponents knew it» 
Their stratagem succeeded; to the injury and loss, it must be 
added, of the Basuto nation. 

After Gordon's departure a report was circulated that he was 
mad. That, no doubt, was the shortest and easiest way of 
getting over the difficulty of his resignation. A then highly 
placed official in the Lesuto repeated the report to me, and 
declared that he believed it to be true. '' He is mad, I tell you ; 
perfectly mad," said he. And when I, with some pardonable 
indignation (as 1 venture to think), demanded his evidence or 
authority for such a statement, this was his reply : *' Gordon had 
said and done things which only a madman would say and do." 

* Butler's Gordon, p. 183. 

REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 211 

*' What things ? " I asked. '' Well, I know of two things," was 
the answer. 

*' The first is that on one occasion, in my hearing, he declared 
that his greatest wish was to retire to Mount Carmel, and get 
the monks there to let him have two or three rooms in the 
monastery, in which he would be able to board, lodge, and 
instruct some of the Syrian boys of the lower classes. JS^ow I 
am sure you will grant," continued my friend, *' that a man in 
General Gordon's position would never talk of throwing up his 
appointment, and sacrificing his prospects, in order to devote 
himself to the education of a lot of little Arab cads, if he were not 
out of his mind. He must be mad ; perfectly mad, I repeat." 

** And what other mad thing did he do or say ? " said I. 

'' Oh, I will tell you ! He did a most extraordinary thing ! 
I did not see it myself, but a friend of mine, upon whose word I 
can rely, did. He actually went out into the veldt alone one day, 
knelt upon the ground, stretched out his arms at full length in 
the form of a cross, and prayed ! It is absolutely true, I assure 
you ; for my friend happened accidentally to come upon him 
when so engaged. The thing is beyond doubt ; and no sane 
man would dream of doing such a thing. No ; you do not know 
Gordon. He is mad ; perfectly mad, I assure you." 

The reader may smile, but this was the only evidence I could 
ever get for the truthfulness of the report that had been so 
industriously spread abroad. 

Gordon was mad because he desired to do a deed of love to 
the little ones for whom his Master laid down His life : he was 
mad because, like his Master, '' he went out into a solitary place 
alone and prayed.'"^' Happy madness ! '' If they have called the 
Master of the house Beelzebub, much more shall they call them 
of His household."! 

These two assertions were quite true. I can myself bear 
independent testimony to the truth of the first, for I well remem- 

* S. Mark i. 35. t S. Matthew x. 25. 

212 REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 

ber how, in one of our talks together, the General told me that he 
could conceive no more delightful work than the training of the 
young. We were speaking of our Mission school at the time, 
and presently our conversation glided off, as it often had a 
tendency to do, to the East and to Palestine. It was then that 
he told me '* he had a great wish in his heart which he feared 
could never be carried out." '* It is," said he, '' to retire, when 
I am no more wanted in the world, to the monastery on Mount 
Carmel, and to establish there, with the consent of the 
good monks, a little refuge or school for poor Syrian 
boys, where they could be instructed in the Christian 
faith, and at the same time trained to be useful in the world." 
He added, ** This is only a wish, you know. And I don't know 
whether the monks would let me do such a work, or spare me a 
few rooms for the purpose. And besides, I doubt whether I shall 
ever be able to undertake it. But I think it would be a really 
good work to undertake, and I have no doubt I should be happy 
in it." 

He never was able to undertake it, as we know. He was 
called by duty to a sterner and more heroic task. 

I have said that the other '' charge " against him was also 
true. From what I have been able to gather, I believe the facts 
to be these. While on his way up to us he stayed one night, 
together with some of the officials, at one of the southern magis- 
tracies. The condition of Basutoland was causing him great 
anxiety, and he was trying to find the best plan for meeting and 
settling the difficulties of the country. At such times he had a 
habit of retiring into his room, sometimes for hours, in order the 
better to think out the problem before him, often seeking 
guidance concerning it in prayer. Everyone who has travelled 
in South Africa knows that such privacy is not always to be 
found, especially during a hurried journey up country. The 
General, wishing to find a little time for himself before starting 
for the north, and anxious not to cause inconvenience to anyone. 

REORGANIZATION, 1881-2. 218 

rose early and walked out alone into the veldt. One of his 
fellow travellers went in search of him when breakfast time drevv 
near, and, to his astonishment, came unexpectedly upon him 
kneeling behind a rock with his arms stretched heavenwards in 

It may have been that some of the officials with whom 
Gordon was at this time associated were not men of prayer. I 
do not say it was so : 1 have no right to say such a thing, and 
I hope that the supposition is altogether incorrect ; but it 7nay 
have been that such was the case. And if so, I suppose it would 
be quite natural for such persons to regard the General as 
eccentric, when they heard that he had actually been seen 
praying in the veldt. But it was not he who was mad. 
Certainly it may be affirmed with perfect truth that, among the 
swarm of new and continually changing officials with which 
Basutoland was at that time beset, there were some who could 
not in the least understand him. He was altogether too far 
above them. Their thoughts were not his thoughts, nor their 
ways his ways. But whatever may have been their opinion of 
Gordon, one great fact stands out very clearly in the subsequent 
course of events ; that they themselves were not conspicuous 
examples of success in the administration of the affairs of the 

" The horses of the pacha went down to the water to be 
shod, and the beetle put out his leg too," says an Eastern 

General Gordon will long be remembered at Thlotse, and by 
no one with more gratitude and veneration than by Jonathan 
Molapo. When the news of his tragic death at Khartoum 
reached us — but little more than two years after we had parted 
from him — all hearts were moved, and the chief bewailed his 
fate with lamentations of sorrow and with tears. 

Mad or not mad, so long as England can produce men like 
Gordon, she will continue to be great. 


Inter- TRIBAL Warfare. 


Matikete and Mabelete — Jonathan and Joel — The Opening of the Ball — 
One More Attack upon Thlotse — The Fight over the River — Defeat of the 
Eastern Confederates — Burning of the Crops by Lepoko— Burning of 
Molapo's House — Thlotse Saved — Joel and his Allies driven Home — 
Massacres — Weakness of the Government — Rumours of Abandonment — 
Increase of Drunkenness — Revival of Heathenism— An Important Pitso. 

We have now to deal with the inter-tribal warfare which 
convulsed the northern part of the country for a period of three 
years — from November, 1882, to November, 1885. 

Such a struggle was inevitable. Abandoned to their fate 
by the Government on whose behalf they had taken up arms ; 
despoiled of their possessions by the party which was now in 
high favour at head-quarters, both in England and at the Cape ; 
with a promise of compensation for their losses not yet even 
partially performed ; cooped up in a narrow space at Thlotse 
camp, and unable to return to their ruined homes or cultivate 
their former fields ; Jonathan and his men felt that the hour 
had come when they must do or die. There was virtually no 
government in the country, or at any rate none with sufficient 
power to restrain them from striking a blow at their enemies 
whenever they might feel strong enough to do so. 

Jonathan was biding his time, and acting on the advice 
which Gordon had given him. The old officials, who knew 
the sacrifices that he and his people had made on behalf of law 
and order, had been carefully got rid of. They had been either 
removed or pensioned; and their successors were instructed, no 


doubt with the best intentions, to reserve their sympathies and 
favours for the disaffected party. 

The struggle which now broke out afresh in the north between 
the two parties was a struggle for supremacy, a question of 
horena (chieftainship), though it had its roots in the old question 
of loyalty versus rebellion. Neither party fought against the 
Queen's Government as such, but the old names of Matikete and 
Mabelete were retained, and only ceased when, three years after- 
wards, the struggle came definitely to an end. It is by these 
names, rather than by those of *'loyals" and '* rebels," that 
the two parties will be henceforth known in these pages ; the 
two latter appellations being no longer literally applicable to 

At first the Mabelete were altogether the stronger. They 
outnumbered the Matikete almost ten to one, were better armed, 
richer, and in possession of almost all the northern districts. 
But there was, as Gordon had foretold there would be, a con- 
tinuous leakage from them to Jonathan ; for the principle of 
loyalty to the chief is deeply enshrined within the native breast. 
** By twos and threes" the more moderate party among the 
^* rebels," who had probably never wished to break either with 
the British Government or with their chief, began to return to 
their lawful leader, encouraged to do so by the reports they 
daily heard of his gentleness and uprightness in dealing with his 

When Molapo died, he had by his wives and concubines 
over one hundred and twenty children who survived him. The 
exact number is doubtful, but as far as I have been able to 
gather it is 123. His eldest son by Mamosa, his great wife, was 
Josefa, who, as has already been mentioned, early developed a 
tendency to mania, and became, soon after he attained to man- 
hood, completely imbecile. His claim to the succession was 
therefore set aside ; and the second son by Mamosa was nomi- 
nated by Molapo as his heir and successor in the chieftainship. 


This son was Jonathan, and his right to the succession was 
universally acknowledged throughout the tribe during Molapo's 

But he had a formidable rival and competitor to his claims 
in the person of Joel, his half-brother, Molapo's eldest son by 
his second wife. It is well to remind the reader of these facts 
once more, since they are so very important. The other sons 
of the old chief were divided in their sympathies. All, however, 
sided, ostensibly at any rate, with Jonathan until the" gun "^ 
question arose ; when, finding that he had resolved to obey the 
law, the great majority of them threw in their lot with Joel. 
The most celebrated among these half-brothers were Khethise 
and Tlasua ; the former proving himself an able and intrepid 
leader in many of the fights which took place in and around 
Thlotse ; the latter becoming celebrated for his tenacity of 
purpose and ferocity of disposition — a ferocity which gained 
for him among the Matikete the name of Nhue, (Tiger). 

Tlasua's territory was the nearest to Thlotse, and he was a 
most troublesome neighbour. He was the most vigilant and 
ruthless of our enemies, distinguishing himself in many an 
independent skirmish on his own account until he was finally 
subdued in 1885. True to the last in his hatred to his 
half-brother and elder, he elected to occupy a remote strip of 
country in the Malutis as the nominal vassal of Joel, rather 
than remain on his own ground and acknowledge the supremacy 
of Jonathan. The hatred between the two parties was incon- 
ceivably great. Family feuds are proverbially the most bitter^ 
and in the case of these half-brothers, and indeed of the whole 
house of Molapo, the spirit of '* hatred, malice, and all un- 
charitableness " reigned supreme. They seemed to forget^ 
utterly and entirely, their common bond of brotherhood as the 
sons of one father, so implacable was the hate they bore to 
one another. Polygamy had, indeed, brought with it its curse 
in the case of the sons of Molapo. Like Solomon, the old 


chief had gone after many strange women, who turned away 
his heart from God and from the faith he professed in his 
youth ; and now his sons were biting and devouring one another, 
and filling the land with violence and bloodshed. 

The first really serious engagement took place on S. Andrew's 
Day, 30th November, 1882, at Sebotoane. The Mabelete 
had provoked it by their continued ill treatment of those of 
Jonathan's people who had gone out from time to time to 
plough and sow their fields. They made life unendurable to 
the luckless Matikete, and, notwithstanding the disparity m 
numbers, Jonathan resolved to strike a blow at them, or perish 
in the attempt. The officials looked on and did nothing : there 
was, in truth, nothing that they could do. They prophesied 
Jonathan's utter and speedy destruction ; while the other Euro- 
peans in the place sympathized with him, and felt that, great as 
were the odds against him, it was by no means certain that he 
would not succeed. It is true he had only 700 men with him, 
but they were veterans ; and his general, Makotoko, was a host 
in himself. Moreover, the Matikete were becoming desperate. 
They said, and with truth : *' We cannot live on any longer as 
we do. We have no homes, no lands, no hope of a future before 
us, and we are in daily and hourly danger of destruction. The 
Government has cast us off, and we must do what we can fur 
ourselves. We do not live now : we only exist. We must all 
die sooner or later, and it is better for us to perish at once on 
the field of battle than live the lives of dogs, as we do now. Let 
us win back our hearths and homes, or die in the attempt to do 
so.'' And so they prepared in this desperate mood for the 
decisive day. In this spirit they marched up the heights of 
Sebotoane to confront the 5,000 Mabelete who awaited them., 

Joel and his allies had taken up a strong position on the 
table-land above, from whence they could command the country 
for miles round, and effectually harry, by their marauding bands, 
any of the Matikete who attempted to cultivate their old fields ;. 


and it was necessary to dislodge them, and compel them to 
retreat to their own districts, if the Matikete were to escape 
starvation during the coming year. 

The battle which ensued was fierce and long contested, but 
in the end the Matikete were successful at all points, driving 
their enemies right across the mountain slopes, and pursuing 
them for a distance of twenty miles — almost, indeed, to the very 
doors of their huts. A large number of the Mabelete, with Joel 
at their head, fled over the Caledon into Free State territory, 
much to the annoyance of the border farmers, who protested 
against this invasion of their homesteads by an armed multitude 
of demoralized and fugitive savages. The Government officials, 
amazed at the turn which events were taking, and alarmed at 
the incursion of a host of their own barbarians into the territory 
of a foreign country, besought Jonathan to return home without 
delay ; congratulating liim upon his victory, but at the same time 
threatening him that, if he did not at once desist from further 
hostilities, he and his people would forfeit the compensation money 
due to them. This threat proved effectual, and the Matikete 
returned to Thlotse in triumph, celebrating their victory with 
the usual war dance. 

The action at Sebotoane proved to be the turning of the 
scale. From henceforth Jonathan's star was in the ascendant, 
and he and his followers were no longer treated with contumely 
by the officials, or hindered from cultivating their fields by their 
enemies. Sebotoane brought us peace for a time — the first 
real peace we had known for three years. The country for 
many miles round Thlotse was open to us, and, although the 
season for ploughing and sowing mabele was ended, there was 
still time to put in maize. To work, therefore, everyone now 
went with all his might. The plough and the pick took the 
places of the rifle and the assagai, and during the next three 
weeks the ground was everywhere broken up, and large quanti- 
ties of maize were sowed, most of which was above ground, and 


looking strong and vigorous by Christmas. It was very late, 
but there was just a chance of its ripening before the winter 
frosts set in. Everyone was once more in good heart, and 
hopeful for the future. 

But we were not yet out of the wood, for, in the following 
March, we were aware that a general combination of the 
Mabelete was again being formed against us, with the 
redoubtable Masupha at its back. The combination was well- 
planned and exceedingly formidable. Thlotsewas to be invaded, 
plundered, burnt, and levelled to the ground, and the ripening 
crops were to be trodden under foot and destroyed. Jonathan and 
his friends, both white and black, were to be eaten up entirely 
and absolutely, once and for all. 

The danger was no light one, for Masupha was very powerful, 
and was at this time the sole ruler of his own territory. He 
altogether ignored the authority of the Government ; w^ould 
have no magistrate or oiiicial of any kind, European or native, 
in his country ; and issued his own passes, which were stamped 
with his own seal, and recognized as valid in the Orange Free 
State. The Volksraad of that state regarded British authority 
as practically defunct in Basutoland — a conclusion which was 
certainly not altogether unwarranted by the actual condition of 
the country, in which, as we see, chaos reigned supreme. 

But the astute and masterful old chief was not without his 
difficulties. He was, in truth, divided between political policy 
and personal affection. On the one hand, he hated and 
despised the Government and all its doings ; and small wonder 
that he should do so after all that had happened — more 
especially after what had taken place while Gordon was with 
him treating for peace in the Queen's name. But, on the 
other hand, he loved Jonathan, the avowed leader of the loyals. 
Nay, he not only loved him ; he admired and respected him. 
The old man had been, as we know, a great and renowned 
warrior in his younger days, and he could not help admiring 


the bravery and consistency of his nephew. Jonathan was 
his own favourite brother's son, and was, moreover, his son-in- 
law, married to one of his best loved daughters ; and *' blood 
is thicker than water" everywhere. It is very seldom that a 
Basuto chief will turn against his own brother, the son of his 
own father and mother; and, I for one, judging from my own 
observation and experience of the natives, did not believe 
that Masupha would do any actual bodily harm to one who 
stood to him in the twofold relationship of son-in-law and 
nephew. Still, as the Mabelete of the north had appealed to 
him for aid, and as he was regarded as their virtual leader 
and chief, he felt himself bound to support them. 

The Paramount Chief, Letsie, was at this time, through his 
persistent double dealing, in favour with neither party. He 
had indeed enough to do to hold his own, and control his 
multitudinous and turbulent sons in his own special district ► 
He was therefore, for the present, put out of consideration ; though 
both parties at times, when it suited their purpose, made a show 
of appealing to his judgment and authority. 

The summer passed away peacefully, the rainy season was 
over, the crops were fast ripening, and the early frosts were just 
about to set in, when the storm burst upon us in all its fury. 
This was on the 3rd of May. For a week previously each 
day had brought rumours of an attack on the morrow, and 
very few of us were able to trust ourselves to sleep at night, 
not knowing when the enemy might appear. Our scouts 
brought us news from day to day of the movements of the 
confederates, and on the 2nd we received a boastful message from 
Tlasua, the Tiger, that he intended to sleep at Thlotse on the 
following night. The town was to be razed to the ground, and 
everyone and everything in it to be made an end of; ''but," 
said he, *' I shall save one house — only one — that I may be able 
to sleep comfortably in the place." Threatened men live long,, 
thought I. Thlotse has gone through so much, and has escaped 


SO often, that it will not do to despair yet. Still, the situation 
was undoubtedly grave — grave in the extreme. We knew that 
the confederates had at last agreed upon a common plan of 
action, thought out with commendable skill ; and our position 
seemed desperate, if not absolutely hopeless. 

Their plan was this : the northern detachment, about 5,000 
strong, under Joel and Matela, was to advance through the 
Leribe Pass, leave a guard at the village of Leribe (six miles 
distant), cross the undulating country that intervened, and 
attack us at our most vulnerable point, the north. This was, as 
the reader knows, exactly where our Mission was situated, and 
it would, therefore, be the first object of attack. The eastern 
detachment, numbering nearly 6,000, under Eamanella, Khethise, 
Tlasua, and Makoa, was to cross the Thlotse, and charge us up 
the slope in the direction of the Residency ; while the southern, 
Masupha's, under his eldest son Lepoko, and about 2,000 in 
number, was to surround us on the south, and cut off our retreat 
in that direction. The west was, of course, open, but it would 
be difficult, if not impossible, for us to escape over the Caledon, 
the heights being everywhere precipitous, and lined with gigantic 
rocks and slippery boulders. Moreover, our village no longer 
possessed any fortifications or earthworks worthy of the name, 
all these having been suffered to fall into decay ; and the space 
covered by the 1,500 houses and huts in the place was so con- 
siderable, that it was impossible with our numbers to defend even 
the half of it. We were thus exposed to the enemy on all sides 
except the west. 

Jonathan's men now numbered 1,700, one thousand of 
whom were seasoned soldiers, devoted to him heart and soul. 
The remainder consisted of seceders from the Mabilete, who 
had come to recognise him as their rightful chief. 

On the morning of the 3rd, looking across the undulating 
country over the Thlotse, we could see the different regiments 
of the eastern contingent advancing in good order from their 


several starting poiiits. Tliej came on leisurely enough at a 
walking pace, until by nine o'clock they were within half-a-mile 
of the river. Here they halted, united, and rested for a few 
minutes before crossing. Masupha's men were reported to be 
massed behind Tsikoane on the south, and were, therefore, not 
yet visible. The northern contingent was said to be in the 
Leribe Pass, attempting to force an entrance through the 

Jonathan had posted his nephew, a young chief named 
Motsuene, at the foot of the pass, with orders to hold it at all 
risks. This young chief was the son of the insane eldest son of 
Molapo already mentioned, and, in accordance with the declara- 
tion of Moshesh, was regarded as heir to the Paramount 
Chieftaiiiship of the whole tribe. During the rebellion he had 
been residing at Matsieng, under the care of his grandfather, 
Letsie, and he had only recently come into the northern district. 
He was an untried man, and proved himself on this occasion to 
be quite incompetent in the field. It must, however, be said in 
justice to him, that probably he was not altogether accountable 
for his actions, since, shoitly afterwards, he developed symptoms 
of the same distressing malady as that to which his father has 
been the prey. He had with him some 300 of his own men, 
sufficient, that is, to hold the pass and the village against all 
comers, had they resolutely determined to do so. 

Jonathan's plan was a bold one. Perhaps it would be truer 
to call it audacious. Belying on Motsuene to hold the northern 
confederates in check, and thinking it impossible to defend so 
large a place as Thlotse with only 1,700 men, he *' took the bull 
by the horns," and galloped across the Thlotse at the head of 
his whole force to give battle to Ramanella and his allies on the 
rismg ground above the eastern bank of the river, ere they could 
cross and surround us. It was an exciting moment. I stood on 
the stoep of the Residency, only about a mile distant from the 
scene of action, and saw through a powerful glass all that 


happened. Our men went down the slopes almost at a hand 
gallop, as only natives can do, crossed the Thiotse, which was 
then low, and rode up its eastern bank in excellent order. It 
must be remembered that they were all mounted, as were the 
enemy. They then extended with the chief at their head, the 
veteran Makotoko riding by his side. The allied forces were 
drawn up, apparently awaiting them. Evidently it was to be a 
hand to hand encounter. 

For a moment the two contending parties stood irresolute, 
contemplating each other. Then Jonathan, seeing that the 
enemy made no sign, gave the word to advance ; and he and his 
men galloped up to within 300 yards' distance of the allied 
forces. Both parties then opened fire, at first without much 
effect, for natives are in general but poor marksmen, and waste 
a great deal of powder and shot to no purpose. But soon several 
men were observed to reel in their saddles, and some fell to the 
ground, notably on the side of the Mabelete. These were at 
once picked up, and carried off on horseback, by men evidently 
told off for the purpose. Then Jonathan, seeing, I suppose, that 
the decisive moment had come, ordered a general charge. With 
a great '' Hurrah ! " which they had learnt from the English in 
the preceding war, he and his men clashed forward into the very 
ranks of the enemy. They were outnumbered by nearly four to 
one ; but, fighting as they were for hearth and home, wives and 
children, and everything else that was dear, and smarting under 
manifold and accumulated outrages and wrongs, their onward 
sweep was irresistible. Then ensued a fierce fight at close 
quarters, in which the assagai did its deadly work all too well. 
The Mabelete, disorganized and dislodged from their ground by 
the first onslaught, nevertheless managed to rally, and their 
superior numbers made us tremble for the fate of the intrepid 
band that had attacked them — nay, if the truth must be told, 
made us tremble for our own, for we well knew what awaited us 
in the event of Jonathan being driven back. 


I looked on in breathless suspense, sending up a heartfelt 
prayer to the God of battles that He would defend the right, and 
give victory to the oppressed. For about ten minutes the issue 
seemed doubtful, when suddenly our brave fellows charged again 
with redoubled vigour into the very midst of the confederates, 
stabbing right and left, and using the battle-axe in all directions, 
until the foe began to waver once more, and then, in another 
moment, to fly. 

Then there ensued a great chase — the most exciting chase 
that I ever witnessed ; and I have, alas ! seen many during these 
African experiences. The Mabelete ran for dear life ; galloping 
furiously across country through ravines, dongas, and sloots, 
over hill and dale, rock and stream, right onward, helter skelter, 
to their mountain villages, eight, ten, twenty miles distant. 
But the Matikete pursued them everywhere, cutting down every 
straggler in the retreat. Each regiment of the confederates made 
for its own villages, and our men divided themselves into com- 
panies and followed them separately, chasing them up to — nay, 
beyond — their kraals, and setting fire to village after village. 
From eleven o'clock until dark we could see volumes of smoke 
arising from every townlet and village along the slopes and spurs 
of the Malutis. Khethise's and Tlasua's were the first in 
flames ; then followed Makua's and others of lesser size and 
importance. Ramanella's alone escaped, being very distant, and 
built on a spur of the Malutis, most difficult of access — a 
fitting stronghold for such a nest of robbers as Ramanella and 
his men have always proved themselves to be. 

But what of Masupha's contingent ? At this all-critical 
moment they did nothing. They might easily have marched 
into Thlotse from the south, when they saw that our men were 
absent from the town, pursuing their own flying allied forces ; 
but they did nothing. I suspect that Lepoko had received 
secret orders from his father not to attack his brother-in-law, 
or suffer the blood of his men to be shed in defence of Joel and 


his supporters, who were by no means personal favourites with the 
old warrior. At all events, whatever was the reason, Masupha's 
two thousand did nothing in the way of fighting that day, but 
contented themselves for a time with looking on at the defeat 
and utter rout of their friends. But when the smoke of the 
burning villages in the mountains began to fill the air, Lepoko, 
thinking, I suppose, that some sori of action was expected of 
him, instead of retaliating by burning our roofs over our heads 
and piercing us to the ground with the assagai, as he might 
easily have done, revenged himself and his friends in another 
and characteristically savage way. Ordering his men south- 
wards, he proceeded to ravage and lay waste the whole of the 
country along his line of march, right down to the Putiatsana, 
the stream which divides Jonathan's territory from Masupha's. 
It is true that he burnt no villages, for there were hardly any 
to burn ; the Matikete, as we know, not having yet dared to 
return to their former dwelling-places and rebuild them. But 
he seized and carried off whatever grain had been harvested (it 
was not much), and cut down or trampled upon, and destroyed, 
all the standing corn, both Kafir corn and mealies, in every field 
that his men came to. When it is remembered that nearly 
every valley, as well as the greater number of the uplands, for a 
distance of twenty miles — the route he had to traverse — was 
nothing less than a continuous series of cornfields, some idea 
may be formed of the havoc caused by this ruthless proceeding. 

But he did not even stop at that. Though it was winter, 
and frosts were beginning to set in at night with all their rigour , 
this unfeeling ruffian ordered his men to strip every Matikete 
woman they could find in the mealie fields, or hidden away 
behind the rocks, take from her her one poor garment, her 
blanket or petticoat of skin, and leave her naked and helpless in 
the bitter cold of a Basutoland winter's night. And these 
indignities were accompanied, in many cases, by the grossest 
outrages, which the hapless victims were powerless to avert. Some 


of the poor creatures died from ill-usage and exposure ; others 
fled to '' caves and dens of the earth," where they remained 
for days until they were rescued by their husbands or brothers ; 
while the remainder escaped into the Free State, where the 
border Boers, to their honour be it said, received them with 
kindness, providing them with food, shelter, and clothing, until 
they could return to their relatives at Thlotse or elsewhere. It 
may be as well to say here that the young chief who thus dis- 
tinguished himself did not live many years after these occur- 
rences. Lepoko literally drank himself to death a few years ago 
while yet in the flower of manhood, leaving a little son to 
succeed him, who, let us hope, may prove a better man than his 
father when the time comes for him to occupy the chieftainship 
of the Berea district. 

But though the eastern column had been routed and put to 
flight, and Masupha's men had retired, we were not yet safe. 
Nay, the greatest danger of all was yet to come. 

About eleven o'clock we were startled at seeing a dense pillar 
of smoke arising from the north in the direction of Leribe. We 
at once guessed that the worst had happened : Joel had forced 
his way through the pass, and was burning the town. A 
mounted man was despatched in hot haste to ascertain if such 
was really the case, and in less than an hour he returned with 
the news that our surmise was only too true. Leribe was in 
flames, and Joel, flushed with success, was rapidly advancing 
upon Thlotse. Motsuene had proved to be no Leonidas, and 
Leribe no Thermopylae. He and his men had either been bought 
over by the enemy, or they were arrant cowards. In any case, 
they allowed themselves to be dislodged from their position 
without so much as striking a blow, and retired ignominiously 
southwards, leaving the Mabelete masters of the field. The 
path being thus open to him, Joel at once advanced and burnt 
the town. This township, lying under the Leribe mountain, was 
founded by his father Molapo ; and the reader will remember 


that it was there that Mr. Lacy and I had our first interview with 
that chief before settUng in the country. 

Not content with burning every hut in the place, the Mabelete 
chief did a deed which struck awe into the hearts of the whole 
people. He burnt down his father's house with his own hands ! 
This act, so unparalleled in native warfare, displayed the depth 
of his jealousy and hatred of his half-brother ; for the house, a 
large and, in its way, not unhandsome structure of stone, went 
with the chieftainship, and was, of course, claimed by Jonathan, 
though he had been as yet unable, from the force of circumstances, 
to occupy it. There is, as we know, among the Basutos a great 
reverence for their ancestors, and a father, whether living or 
departed, is always held in honour by his sons ; and thus the 
burning not only of his father's village, but even of his very 
house, the house which was Molapo's special pride and boast, 
was an act which drew down upon Joel the execrations of the 
whole tribe. There can be no doubt that old Letsie marked it 
and remembered it ; for from that time forth the Paramount 
Chief showed Jonathan more favour, though he was not yet 
prepared to side with him openly. 

Leribe destroyed and Motsuene disposed of, there was now no 
obstacle to an easy march upon Thlotse, and by 12 o'clock the 
northern column was on its way to the town. It seemed now 
that nothing could save us from destruction. Jonathan and his 
men were miles and miles away in the east and south-east, still 
pursuing the eastern Mabelete, and were, of course, unconscious 
of our danger, relying as they did upon Motsuene. But even 
had they known of our peril, they could have done nothing to 
save us, for by the time they returned Thlotse would have 
become a heap of smoking ruins. Added to this, we were as yet 
ignorant of the movements of Lepoko, and expected every 
moment to hear that he was advancing upon us from the 

So great and so imminent was the danger, that I began to 


think that our last hour was indeed come. There was only a 
tiny handful of men left in the place. With the exception of 
the Fingo Chief, Tukunya, and thirty of his warriors, every 
fighting man was out with Jonathan. There were also some 
fifteen or sixteen native police and six white men, the latter 
being the Eesident (Mr. Bailie), his clerk, a young trader, Dr. 
Taylor, Mr. Champernowne, and myself. The few European 
women and children had been sent away in the morning 
over the border to Ficksburg ; and Mr. Beading, at my earnest 
desire, had also gone over the Caledon, taking with him our 
native boarders and domestics. He was a high spirited young 
fellow, and it went much against the grain to go off and 
leave Thlotse and its people to their fate ; but he was very 
good about it ; obeyed my wishes to the letter, and sat with 
our little mission family upon the banks of the river all 
through the weary hours, expecting every moment to see the 
smoke of the town rising in the distance. 

The danger being now so pressing, I desired Mr. Champer- 
nowne to ride over the border likewise, and join our party 
there, telling him that I hoped, please God, to be able to find 
my way down the rocks, and effect my escape by the bridle 
path, when the worst came to the worst. Both my colleagues 
were very good in thus sacrificing their own wishes to mine, 
for I am sure it cost them a good deal to do so ; but they 
could do nothing to avert the threatened destruction, and it was 
an unspeakable relief to know that they, together with the 
other inmates of our Mission huts, were safe on Free State soil. 

And now was seen a sight which moved me strangely — a 
spectacle which I hope never to behold again, and which stirred 
every pulse of one's being. Tn the doorway of each hut in the 
town stood a woman, with blanched cheeks and clenched teeth 
(natives when greatly scared often present a ghastly drab-green 
appearance), holding her assagai in her hand, ready to defend 
herself and her little ones within to the last. Though the men 


were all away, the women and children had remained : there was 
no place for them to escape to. And now each woman brought 
out the spare assagai and stood awaiting her fate, resolved to sell 
her life as dearly as she could. I went round to several of the 
huts. The whole place seemed absolutely deserted, save for the 
little knot of loyal Fingoes who were gathered together in one 
corner, each man standing at his horse's head, straining his eyes 
for a sight of the enemy. Not a woman or child was visible : 
they had all retired in terror to their huts. The very dogs, as if 
scenting danger, had retreated likewise to their hiding-places ; 
not one was to be seen anywhere. My own horse was standing 
outside the garden gate, saddled and bridled, tethered to a willow 

Our doom seemed certain ; our fate sealed. Human aid 
there was none. I thought that nothing but a miracle could 
save us. I stood outside the study, looking intently towards the 
Leribe road, expecting every moment to see the dreaded forms 
of our foes emerge from the hollow, and appear upon the brow of 
the hill in front of us, from which they would with the greatest 
ease descend upon us, and cut our throats, or stab us to death, 
and burn our village to the ground. 

I had stayed behind simply from a sense of duty, feeling that 
I ought to be one of the last to leave the place, should I, by the 
mercy of God, be spared to do so. I felt at that moment any- 
thing but heroic, and I do not think I can honestly say that I 
liked the situation in which I found myself ; but, as an American 
hero (in fiction) observed on a celebrated occasion, " Vocation is 
vocation, and dooty is dooty — some." So I stayed to see the end. 
Furthermore, it must be remembered that nearly all our Christian 
women and children were in the place, and I could not help 
hoping that, were I permitted to escape, I might be able, in my 
flight, to afford some little help to these helpless members of my 
flock, or, at least, succeed in rescuing one of the children from 
the jaws of death and carry it off triumphantly on my saddle. 


So as I strained my eyes in the direction of the enemy, I lifted 
up my heart in prayer, commending myself and the poor souls 
around me to Him Who is able to save even unto the uttermost, 
and beseeching Him to extend to us the arms of His mercy, and 
deliver us even at the eleventh hour, when all earthly succour 
had failed us. 

While thus engaged, I felt someone touch me on the shoulder, 
and, looking round, I saw at my side a Hottentot — a convert 
whom I had baptized two years before — by name Hermanus 
Norkie. He had been living for the last year in the Orange 
Free State, and I was therefore doubly astonished to see him 
standing close to me at such a moment. 

** Hermanus," said I, '' what brings you here at such a time 
as this ? Why have you ventured into such danger ? " 

** Mynheer," he replied, '* I was riding along the frontier to 
pay a visit to a friend, when I heard the firing, and saw the 
smoke in the distance yonder. They told me in Ficksburg that 
Leribe was already burnt, and that Thlotse was being attacked, 
and could not possibly this time escape destruction. So I 
thought of Mynheer, and made all speed to get here, taking the 
short cuts which are still open on the Free State side, and 
thinking that I might be of some use in helping Mynheer or 
some of the brethren to escape before it was too late. I am 
well mounted, and my horse is ready outside the gate at Myn- 
heer's service." ** The rebels," he added, '' are advancing sure 
enough, but they are not riding hard. They are coming on at 
their ease, feeling, no doubt, sure of their prey." 

*'Well," I said, '* it is indeed kind of you to come, and 
to risk your life for mine. But I do not need your horse ; 
my own is saddled up waiting for me. As to the brethren, 
they are safe on the other side of the river. But since you 
are here, I will tell you what you can do for me. You can ; 
make haste and light the fire, and make a cup of coffee for 
each of us." 



I was feeling, truth to say, hungry as well as weary, having 
tasted but little that day, and it was now past noon. 

The Hottentot's face brightened up and broke into a broad 
smile at the suggestion. Under what conceivable circumstances 
would a Hottentot not welcome the idea of a fire and a bowl of 
coffee ? 

But there was more to follow. 

*' Mynheer,'^ he replied in his very best Dutch — it must be 
remembered that Cape Dutch is now the language of most 
natives of Hottentot extraction— *' Mynheer, that is a good 
thought, and if Mynheer likes I will prepare a little meat in the 
frying-pan likewise. 

** But," said I, **that is impossible. There is no meat in 
the house, and, besides, we should have to fly before it could 
possibly be ready." 

"Mynheer," he rejoined, ** I have two or three ribbetjes'' 
(ribs of salted mutton) **with me in the saddle-bag, and 
a couple of onions too. I thought 1 might find Mynheer in 
this strait, and so I bought some in Ficksburg, and brought them 
with me. Let me fry them. The rebels will hardly be here 
for half-an-hour, and before that time the ribbetjes, as well as 
the coffee, will be ready. Then, if the worst comes to the 
worst, and we cannot escape, we will eat our last meal together 
and die together. But the rebels have not got us yet into their 
clutches, and the Lord is great. So, do you keep a sharp look 
out from the gate, and let me go inside and do my duty." 

** Ruling passion strong in death," thought I. So I bowed 
to my Hottentot brother's decision, grateful to him for his 
kindness, and appreciating, I trust, the spirit of love and self- 
sacrifice which had prompted him to come at such a time of 
danger. In a moment he had disappeared inside the rondavel 
used as a kitchen, and in a few moments more the fire had begun 
to blaze. 

At this juncture I noticed Tukunya's men and the Kesident, 


accompanied by about half a dozen of his poUce, crossing the 
road which runs along in front of our station. They were 
evidently going out to the Leribe road to see how far off the 
Mabelete still were. I mounted and followed them, joined by 
the doctor, who, true to his profession, had remained at his post 
to the last. He shook his head gravely over our prospects of 
escape, agreeing with me that, as far as we could see, the town 
must fall. We rode on and attached ourselves to Tukunya's 
party, making straight for the Leribe road. We had no sooner 
reached the brow of the hill, about six hundred yards distant 
from our lower garden wall, than we saw the enemy in full 
force almost within a mile of us. To the right, under Sebotoane^ 
were Motsuene and his men, who had off-saddled, and remained 
there out of danger to see the end. 

JoeFs host came on leisurely and confidently enough, 
advancing to within five hundred yards' distance of us, when 
they suddenly halted. Both parties waited, native fashion, to 
see what would happen, or who would strike the first blow* 
Then Tukunya's men formed themselves into two little groups 
of about fifteen each, at something like three hundred yards' dis- 
tance from each other, in front of the long extended line of JoeFs 
five thousand. 

During this movement the doctor and I rode quietly back to 
our respective duties. Mine was to warn my faithful old 
Hottentot friend, and to make such hurried arrangements as 
were possible for the safety of our Christian women and children. 
A deathlike silence reigned around. Nothing living was visible 
in the place : everything was still. But just as I arrived at our 
gate I heard the report of a gun. It was from Tukunya's men, 
and was followed a few seconds afterwards by two or three shots 
in quick succession. 

What could be the meaning of it ? Surely Tukunya would 
not be mad enough to challenge such a multitude to the fight t 
But in very deed and truth he had done so I And, what is 


more : looked at simply from a human point of view, his very 
audacity proved to be our salvation. For the Mabelete, seeing 
these two little groups of men drawn up in front of them, and 
doubtless recognising them as Tukunya's Fingoes, must have 
imagined that heavy reserves were hidden somewhere close at 
hand, and that this was simply a trap to lure them into the town 
to their destruction. They could easily see that the place 
appeared deserted, and that there was no movement or sign of 
life in it, and this made them, no doubt, only the more suspicious. 
Yet they must have known from their spies and scouts that the 
whole of Jonathan's men had followed him into the field, and 
they knew equally well that, engaged as he was with their allies 
in the mountains, he could not possibly return to Thlotse before 
they had had time to work their entire will upon it. Yet they 
made no movement. They seemed paralyzed with indecision, 
and allowed the thirty Fingoes to take *' pot shots " at them for 
at least ten minutes ! 

All this I saw while standing at my pony's head with his 
bridle in my hand, sipping the Kommetje of coffee which my 
Hottentot friend's kindness and self-sacrifice had procured for 
me. The minutes seemed very long as one by one they passed 
away, I straining my eyes to observe what was going on and 
when the next movement would be made, expecting every 
moment to see our enemies rush in upon us and overwhelm us. 
But they made no sign, until suddenly, to my amazement, I saw 
them turn their horses' heads in the direction of Sebotoane, 
wheel round, and quietly retire towards the bridle paths which 
led up to the top of the mountain ! 

It seemed a dream, an optical illusion, an impossibility ; but 
it was simple, downright fact. They had actually abandoned 
the prey when it was absolutely within their grasp. It was 
inexplicable, but it was true. The words of the prophet con- 
cerning God's city of old came unbidden to my mind : *' He 
shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor 


^ome before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. For I 
will defend this city to save it."'^ 

God had, indeed, wrought a great deliverance in thus turning 
aside our enemies and giving them over to the strong delusion 
which took possession of their minds, so that they might not 
harm us. When I look back upon that wonderful deliverance 
at this distance of time, I cannot help feeling more and more 
that the hand of our God was upon us for good on that 
memorable day. 

I hastened into the chapel, there to pour forth my thanks- 
givings to our Father in heaven, Who had so signally saved us 
when all hope of deliverance was lost. 

** Ah," said the Hottentot, as we shared together in peace 
and with hearts full of gladness the repast which his bounty had 
provided, *' I told Mynheer that the Lord is great. See, I did 
not bring the ribbetjes in vain. I have had time to cook them 
after all. Eat them, Mynheer. You are tired and hungry, and 
they are done to a nicety." 

I can honestly say that I required no persuasion to act upon 
his advice. I took my full share of them, and savoury indeed 
they proved to be. 

Joel, after ascending Sebotoane, off-saddled on the top of 
the mountain, he and his men looking down upon us, but doing 
nothing. Our great hope now was that our own men might 
return home ere the enemy changed his mind, or removed from 
his present position. It was now half-past one o'clock, but not 
antil nearly three hours afterwards did Jonathan appear. He 
and his men rode into the town exulting in their victory, 
only then for the first time to learn the extent of the danger 
we had gone through during their absence. They had fully 
xelied upon Motsuene, and when they heard what had hap- 
pened, their indignation was loud and deep, both against him 
and his men. They saw that even now the danger had not 

* Isaiah xxxvii. 33, 35. 


entirely passed away, for they beheld the Mabelete looking 
down upon them from the heights of Sebotoane. In less than 
two hours it would be dark, and they felt that Joel must not be 
allowed to remain where he was until the morning. Fatigued 
as they were, for they had been in the saddle since eight o'clock, 
they nevertheless resolved to follow up the enemy at once and 
dislodge him from his position. But their horses were so jaded 
and so unfit for further effort that an off-saddle, however short, 
was absolutely necessary if the field was again to be taken that 
day. So an hour's rest was ordered ; and then, just as the sun 
was dipping under the horizon, the command was given to 
mount, and the whole force marched out towards the northern 

My colleagues and our mission boys had in the meantime 
returned home, the tidings of our remarkable escape having 
become speedily known along the Free State border ; and we all 
stood together and looked at our men as they marched down the 
path which skirts the wall of the Mission, in excellent order and 
with pealing hurrahs, on their way to Sebotoane. By the time 
they reached the bridle paths leading up the mountain, darkness 
had set in, and we lost sight of them. But an hour afterwards 
we could hear the battle raging in all its fury on the flat mount- 
ain top. The volley firing was incessant ; the sharp, short 
crack of the rifles reverberating grandly through the mountain 
gorges. It was undoubtedly a critical moment, but we had 
every confidence in the bravery of our men, and could not bring 
ourselves to believe that they would suffer themselves to be 
defeated, since to be so would mean absolute destruction to them, 
and cruel wrong and suffering to their wives and children. Nor 
were we disappointed in our confidence. After a time the firing 
hecame more and more distant, and we trusted that it signified 
the retreat of the Mabelete. Such, indeed, was the case. There 
was a struggle — not very prolonged — and then our men, bearing 
down upon them with all their might, succeeded in driving them 


from their position. Tliey fled over the mountain ( Sebotoane is 
the extreme end of a long stragghng spur of the Malutis), and 
were chased for more than ten miles through the night by 
Jonathan, who, with his victorious warriors, returned in the small 
hours of the morning, and bivouacked on the spot that the enemy 
had occupied. 

Then the savage came out in the Mabelete. In revenge for 
their defeat and the failure of their enterprise, they put to death 
in cold blood, on the following morning, six helpless old men and 
three children, whom they found in one of the outlying villages 
belongmg to the Matikete, after having burnt the half-dozen 
huts of the place. 

Jonathan and his commando, after remaining three days 
upon the heights of Sebotoane, and assuring themselves that all 
was now safe and the enemy thoroughly beaten and dispersed, 
returned home, and celebrated their double victory by such a war 
dance as I have never witnessed either before or since, making 
the air resound for miles with their repeated shouts of joy. 

Thus ended this signal deliverance from death and destruc- 
tion — one of the most noteworthy, surely, if not indeed the 
greatest, in the history of Thlotse. 

I could not ascertain the number of the killed and wounded 
on either side, partly, as the reader knows, because natives have 
but little idea of numbers, and partly also, because they like to 
hide their losses as carefully as possible. But it was certain 
that the Mabelete lost far more heavily than our own men, and, 
indeed, they themselves allowed such to be the case. Asking one 
of Jonathan's men, a few days afterwards, how many of the 
enemy had fallen, he replied that he could not tell. " They were 
many," said he, " but not so many as men thought." I was glad 
to hear it. And then he added complainingly, and with a rueful 
expression of countenance : " Moruti, we could not kill as many 
as we wished. They ran away so fast that we could not get at 
them ; they would not stop to let us kill them/^ 


The combination against the lawful chief was now, for the 
present at least, broken up, and for the first time since the 
middle of 1880 we began to breathe really freely, and to look 
forwa.rd to a settled and permanent peace. So great and decisive 
was the victory, that the name of Jonathan was henceforth spread 
abroad in song and chant throughout the country, while the very 
sight of a Letikete inspired feelings of fear and respect where 
hitherto he had been despised and contemned. Thus had 
Gordon's forecast been entirely realized and brought to pass : the 
chief had used his men ** as a whip with which to chastise his 
enemies." Certainly it was a great deliverance ; for from that 
time forward, though outbreaks occurred at intervals in the 
extreme north, Thlotse itself was never again in the danger that 
it had been. The tables were completely turned, once and for 
all ; and every man could now '* sit under his own vine and fig- 
tree " in peace. 

But it may be asked what the Government had been doing 
during this time of anarchy and bloodshed. The reply is, 
nothing. The Government officials, having no power at their 
back, and little or no influence over the chiefs, were pow^erless 
to do anything -effectual to check the outbreak. They had, in 
truth, an impossible task to perform. They were commissioned 
to govern the country by '' moral force " ; but such moral force 
as the Government had ever possessed was completely played 
out. A new Chief Magistrate, or '* Governor's xAgent," Captain 
Blyth, C.M.G., had recently been appointed and sent up to 
Maseru, and he hastened at once to Thlotse to investigate the 
state of affairs, and to endeavour to effect a permanent settle- 
ment between the rival factions. He was a high-principled, 
humane man, and was inexpressibly shocked and grieved at what 
he heard and saw. In particular, the massacre of the old men 
and the children, the indignities offered to the women, and the 
destruction of the crops, moved him greatly. Highly indignant 
as he was at these atrocities, he was powerless to bring the 


perpetrators of thera to book, and could only return to Maseru 
and report to the Governor what had taken place. 

There can, I suppose, be no doubt that the Government and 
the Parliament of the Cape were both of them getting sick of 
Basutoland, and desired to get rid of the country altogether. 
The President of the Orange Free State, too, was continually 
complaining of the condition of affairs in the nominally British 
territory, and pointed out with unanswerable force how in- 
juriously it affected the peace and well-being of the Free State 
subjects in the eastern towns, and, in fact, everywhere along the 
border. It was rumoured that we were to be abandoned 
altogether. The Cape Government would have no more to do 
with us, and the Imperial Government were unwilling to step in 
and take us under their control. But, at any rate, now that the 
confederation of the Mabelete was broken up, we in the north 
had a real breathing time, and thankful enough we were for such 
a boon after the strain of the last three or four years. 

What added to the misery of the situation all round was that 
drunkenness was [rife throughout the land. For several years 
past the great majority of both chiefs and people had given 
themselves up to it, until it bid fair to be the destruction of the 
tribe. The strongest and vilest " Cape smoke " (we used to call 
it "Kill at forty yards ") was daily smuggled into the country 
by unprincipled white men, both Dutch and English, and a 
whole string of illicit grog shops and canteens existed along the 
border. Some of the chiefs, and many of ^the people, drank 
themselves to death. It was no uncommon thing to see a native 
take a whole bottle of brandy, and drink it off, raw as it was, in 
less than a quarter of an hour. Some :of the people took to 
mixing the spirit with their joala, drinking large draughts of the 
villainous compound, which maddened and poisoned them at the 
same time. Ten years of such excesses would, I think, have 
gone far to destroy the nation, and a people of less splendid 
physique would have suffered from them much more than the 


Basutos did. Of course, there were not wanting cynical white 
men with no faith, no principle, and no bowels of compassion,, 
who looked on with indifference, or even gloated over this con- 
dition of things. '' Let the niggers drink themselves to death,'* 
was their cry. *' It is the best thing that could happen to the 
country and to ourselves." But the vast majority of the 
Colonists and the Free State burghers regarded the sight with 
very different feelings. They were profoundly distressed at the 
spectacle of such a promising people as the Basutos going head- 
long to destruction. 

With this drunkenness there took place also, as was inevit- 
able, a revival of heathenism. It looked as if the good that had 
been gradually accomplished in some parts of the country by 
fifty years of continuous and arduous labour on the part of the 
various Christian missionaries would be undone and swept away 
in five. I am thankful to be able to bear witness that during 
these days of *' blasphemy and rebuke " our little band of con- 
verts at Thlotse stood firm to their faith in Christ. Not one 
relapsed into heathenism, and but few gave themselves up to 
strong drink. By God's grace and mercy nearly all of them 
came out of the ordeal unscathed, and, I would fain hope, with 
their faith increased and strengthened. 

" When things are at their worst, they begin to mend," says 
the proverb ; and it was so in our case. Early in November we 
heard that the Imperial Government had consented to relieve the 
Cape of the responsibility of governing Basutoland, and intended 
taking us under its own control. This proved to be the case, to 
our intense relief and joy ; for, as I have said, we were in great 
fear lest we should be abandoned altogether. 

A Pitso of the whole tribe was summoned by the Governor's 
Agent at Makolo-kolo, near Maseru, on the 29th November, 1883, 
at which a letter was read from Lord Derby, the Secretary of 
State for the Colonies, requesting the people to say whether they 
were willing to be taken over by the Imperial Government or 

240 GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 

not. All the chiefs and headmen, with the exception of 
Masupha and his subordinates, at once gladly consented to 
receive Imperial officers into the country, and pledged themselves 
to obey the laws and regulations laid down for them by Her 
Majesty the Queen. In particular, the Paramount Chief was 
urgent that he and his people should come under the direct 
control of England, feeling, doubtless, that this was the only 
means left of preserving the Basutos as a nation. It was hoped 
that the perverse obstinacy of Masupha might in time be 
conquered, and that he too might consent to be '' taken up by his 

To this request of the majority of the tribe the Imperial 
Government acceded, and early in the ensuing year Lt.-Col. 
Clarke, K.A., was appointed Eesident Commissioner in Basuto- 
land, under the direction and control of the Governor of the Cape 
Colony in his capacity of High Commissioner for South Africa. 
There was thus a revived hope of a prosperous and peaceful 
future before us, and everyone rejoiced that the Basutos were once 
more in the '' cave " that Moshesh had provided for them. 

Gleams of Hope. 


Outlook at the Commencement of 1884— Sir Marshall Clarke— More 
Fighting — Impaired Health of Mr. Champernowne — The Outbreak at Thaba 
^Nchu — Tsipinare and Samuel — The Barolong Scattered — Opening of the 
New School Room— Tukunya and his People, 

Fkom what has been said in the preceding chapter, the reader 
will have gathered that very little in the way of solid progress in 
the work of evangelization could be hoped for while Basutoland 
continued in the state of ferment I have described. The outlook 


GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 241 

at the commencement of 1884 was undoubtedly much brighter 
than it had been smce the rebeUion: but we felt, nevertheless, 
that there were still " lions in the path." As long as Masupha 
continued in his present position of opposition to, and inde- 
pendence of, all government except his own, so long would the 
Mabelete of the north be encouraged in their lawlessness and 
contempt for all and every kind of authority. Yet, as we have 
seen, there was little or no fear of their being able to threaten 
our peace at Thlotse itself, and the daily routine of the Mission 
could therefore now go on without let or hindrance. Accordingly 
we resumed our work with renewed energy. The services were 
once more held without interruption or distraction ; the congre- 
gations increased, and the school was full to overflowing. We 
felt that the present was a time of fresh ploughing and sowing 
rather than reaping, and we were content to go on, possessing 
our souls in patience, until, please God, the time might come 
when the harvest of present efforts might be gathered in. When, 
in the providence of God, the country should be restored to law 
and order, and the people no longer agitated by internal conflicts, 
we felt assured that Divine grace would triumph in the hearts of 
many who had been in a greater or lesser degree attracted to the 
Mission, but who had not yet been moved to give themselves to 
Christ. The Lord Jesus would yet, we believed, " see of the 
travail of His Soul and be satisfied " among the heathen of the 

The arrival of the Imperial Commissioner in March shed a 
fresh gleam of hope across our path, and we all felt that his 
presence was a guarantee that England did not intend to desert 
us. It was also, as we would fain believe, an earnest of good 
government, which must, ere long, when the nation had had 
time to reflect and passions to calm down, result in a settled and 
abiding peace. Lt.-Col. (now Sir Marshall) Clarke was an 
officer of much experience, and his subsequent administration of 
public affairs proves that he came into the country with the best 

242 GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 

interests of the Basutos at heart. Known personally by his 
friends as a man of high principle, unspotted reputation, and 
calm judgment, he assumed the reins of government at a time 
when the great majority of the people were growing weary of 
internal discord and internecine strife. It was, of course, in 
Masupha's district, and among the malcontents of the north, that 
disaffection and opposition would be experienced, and the Com- 
missioner had a difficult, as well as a delicate, task to perform in 
reducing these districts to obedience and order ; for it must be 
remembered that he brought with him no military force, and 
possessed no authority save that of the name of the Queen of 
England. That he has to a large extent succeeded in accom- 
plishing his purpose is proof of his uprightness and sagacity, as 
well as his firmness and patience. The Imperial Government 
had granted to the Basutos practical autonomy — perhaps it may 
be better called local self-government, guided by the moral 
suasion of the Commissioner. A code of laws, simple in its aim 
and scope, and founded on that in force before the rebellion, was 
adopted and promulged by the High Commissioner, and these laws 
were to be enforced by the joint authority of the Commissioner 
and the Paramount Chief. It is but fair to say that Sir Marshall 
Clarke has from the first been effectively aided and supported by 
an efficient and able body of officers in his efforts to promote the 
well-being of the people. 

One of the very first things he had to do, soon after his arrival 
in the country, was to endeavour to settle the long-standing 
dispute between Jonathan and Joel. In this he was ably 
assisted by Lerothodi, who, at the wish of his father, exerted his 
whole influence on behalf of peace ; doing his utmost, though 
not with entire success, to overcome the perverseness, and curb 
the insolence of Joel, and so bring this upstart potentate to 
reason. Hostilities had broken out again on the 14th March 
between the Mabelete and the Matikete, the former, as usual, 
being the aggressors. True to their old methods, they had 

GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 243 

oppressed and maltreated those of the latter who endeavoured to 
•occupy their old homes, and cultivate their old lands, near the 
borders of Joel's district, carrying off their cattle whenever they 
found a chance of doing so, and otherwise making their position 
intolerable. Thanks to this last defeat, Joel was no longer 
powerful enough to threaten Thlotse, or the villages and corn lands 
mear it, but what mischief he could do north of Leribe he did. 
Jonathan was bound to protect and defend the rights and interests 
•of his people, and he accordingly marched north, and punished 
the Mabelete severely, gaining a signal advantage over them at a 
.spot not far from our mission station of Sekubu. But he was 
hastily summoned back to Thlotse before he could strike a final 
blow at these implacable foes, and disperse them once for all ; 
for during his absence two of Masupha's sons had hastily organ- 
ized a commando, and were again threatening to attack us from 
the south. Once more the European women and children were 
sent away in haste over the Caledon, and Jonathan marched 
southwards to meet the advancing commando. He encountered 
it at a spot about ten miles distant, and inflicted upon it a severe 
defeat, but only after a determined struggle, which lasted nearly 
a whole day. Masupha's men then drew off, and retreated to the 
Malutis, where they remained for some days, taking counse 
together. The upshot of this was that they formed a plan for 
seizing Jonathan's cattle, but were unsuccessful in carrying it 
out ; and, failing in this, they fell back into their old methods 
.of procedure, and revenged themselves by trampling down and 
destroying the greater portion of the crops still remaining 
between Tsikoane and the Putiatsana, a distance of more than 
-fifteen miles. 

Col. Clarke, who had arrived at Maseru during these disturb- 
ances, prevailed upon Letsie to command Masupha to withdraw 
his marauders to their own districts ; and in the meantime Joel 
.and large numbers of his men had, as usual, fled to the Free 
State, and taken refuge there after their defeat, leaving forty-six 

244 GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 

of the killed behind them on the battle-field. This was the con- 
dition of affairs which the new Commissioner found upon his 
entrance into the country, and he lost no time in trying to set 
things straight, and put an end to such destructive inter-tribal 
warfare . 

At this time the state of Mr. Champernowne's health was 
causing me considerable anxiety. Never strong, he seemed now 
to be on the point of collapsing altogether, and I felt that the 
only thing which could permanently benefit him was a voyage to 
England. Six months before this he had felt very jaded and 
*' worked out," and had, at my solicitation, taken a two months' 
holiday in Kaffraria and Natal ; but though he returned to us 
in better health, the improvement was only transient, and at 
Easter he broke down once more. Evidently the only thing to 
be done was to pack him off to England as soon as possible, so 
that he might arrive there in time for the summer. He did not 
like the idea of going, but I was resolute about it, and after a 
good deal of persuasion, prevailed upon him to apply for a year's 
leave and start at once. He left us at the end of April, going 
home by way of Natal. An amusing incident occurred while he 
was at Pietermaritzburg, on his way to Durban. He was 
staying at one of the hotels in the city, and, as the weather was 
wet and wintry, was muffled up in a shabby -looking great coat 
and woollen scarf, which did not help to impart a clerical 
character to his appearance. Sitting down one day at luncheon^ 
the individual next to him at table, a gentleman-like looking 
man, began a conversation with him after the free and easy 
manner of people in young countries, little imagining that he 
was a clergyman. After the state of the weather had been duly 
and sufficiently discussed in the usual introductory fashion, the 
stranger turned to my colleague and asked *' where he hailed 
from, and where he was going to ? " 

**From Basutoland," answered Mr. Champernowne, *'and I 
am on my way home to England." 

GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 245 

** From Basutoland, eh ? " said his acquaintance. '* And you 
are bound for the old country ? " 


'' Oh, well, I am in luck's way to-day, for I have long wanted 
to find out all about Basutoland ; and now you will be able to tell 
me. You have had a lot of fighting up there, have you not ? " . 

" Yes, we have had nothing but ' wars and rumours of wars ' 
ever since the rebellion of 1880. At least, that has been the 
case in the part of the country in which I have been living." 

'* What part is that, may I ask ? " 

** Leribe ; the northern district of the country." 

'' Oh, yes, Leribe. I have heard of it. Kather a fine district 
for mealies, is it not ? " 

" Yes, and for Kafir corn too." 

" Ah, to be sure. And what have you been doing up there ? 
Trading, I suppose ? " 

'* No, I am a missionary." 

'* A missionary ! " 

Then there was a slight pause ; and then, with a sneer, '' Oh, 
yes, to be sure. I see ! Yoii have made your pile^ and are about to 
retire from business ! " 

The idea of such a man as my brother priest '' making his 
pile," and '* retiring from business" was delicious, and we 
laughed over it again and again. 

Now this hotel stranger must not be taken to represent the 
feeling of Colonists generally on the subject of missions and 
missionaries. In my experience the Africander, whether of 
English or of Dutch extraction, though not usually as keen as 
could be wished on the subject of missions, never opposes them, 
and invariably treats missionaries with respect, no matter to 
what body of Christians they may belong. The greatest 
enemies of missions are a certain class of Kjiglishmen who go 
out to South Africa, perhaps with the object of settling, more 
often only with the idea of '' seeing the country " and writing a 


book about it ; but who, wherever they go, take with them much 
flippancy and Httle faith. For the honour of our nation they are 
not very numerous, and South Africa is such a *' slow" country 
that such people are not likely to settle down in it permanently. 
We need not, therefore, say any more about them. 

In the July of this year we were startled by the news of a 
sudden and sanguinary revolution at Thaba 'Nchu, the capital of 
the Barolong territory. The reader may perhaps remember that 
about fifty years before a certain quantity of ground round the- 
Thaba 'Nchu mountains had been granted by Moshesh to the 
Barolong fugitives, who had fled southwards when their country 
was overrun by the armies of Moselekatse. Upon the death of 
their chief, Moroka, in 1880, there was the almost inevitable- 
dispute as to the right of succession. Two men, Samuel 
Lefulere and Tsipinare, claimed the chieftainship. The first wa& 
regarded as the actual son of Moroka, the second as a reputed 
son ; and each considered himself to be the rightful heir and 
successor of the departed chief. Into the merits of the quarrel 
I have no wish to enter, and, indeed, to do so would be foreign 
to the purpose of this book. Suffice it to say that the great 
majority of the Barolong, as well as the tribes round about them^ 
favoured the claims of Samuel, and regarded him as their lawful 
chief. But Tsipinare, who had been for some years, with 
Moroka's consent, the virtual ruler of the town of Thaba 'Nchu, 
had a considerable party there who sided with him. He was a 
man of much greater force of character than his rival, had 
displayed much more ability in public affairs, and had contrived 
to gain the favour of the European traders and other foreign 
residents. Samuel's party was strongest in the rural districts,, 
especially in the northern division, where his own village was 

As there seemed to be no chance of a settlement between the 
two parties without an appeal to arms, the President of the 
Orange Free State, Sir John Brand, volunteered to act aa 

GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 247 

mediator, and, if they desired it, arbitrator between the claimants. 
They both acceded to his proposal, each pledging himself to 
abide by his decision, and regard it as final. The President, after 
a patient examination of the evidence tendered to him, gave his 
judgment in favour of Tsipinare. Samuel was to retain his 
present rights at his own village and m his own district, but 
Tsipinare was to be Paramount Chief of the whole Barolong 

The President's decision was at once repudiated by Samuel 
and his supporters, who, as has been said, formed by far the 
majority of the people ; and even among the Boers of the 
neighbouring farms there were not wanting those who roundly 
declared that the President had not been impartial in his j udg- 
ment. That Sir John Brand would have decided otherwise than 
according to the evidence laid before him is a supposition that 
no one who knew that eminent statesman could entertain for a 
single moment. He was universally recognised throughout 
South Africa as the most fair-minded and upright of men, and 
if his decision ran counter to the convictions of so many who 
professed to know the rights of the case, it could only be because 
the whole of the evidence in favour of Samuel was not forth- 
coming, or because he was in possession of facts and testimonies 
with regard to Tsipinare of which people in general were 

The unsuccessful claimant contented himself for the time 
with protesting against the judgment, and allowed his rival to 
assume the chieftainship of the tribe ; but it gradually became 
known that a fermentation of feeling was going on beneath the 
surface of things, and there had been from time to time ominous 
whisperings and rumours of an intended rising, which caused 
much uneasiness to the Europeans of the town of Thaba 'Nchu, 
as well as to the supporters of Tsipinare. 

But latterly these rumours had ceased, and most people had 
begun to think that Samuel and his party had tacitly acquiesced 

248 ' GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 

in the new order of things, and that the power of Tsipinare was 
now firmly established. They were destined to be wofuUy 
deceived. In the July of this year, four years after the judgment 
of Sir John Brand had been given, Samuel and a large body of 
his followers, led on by several Boers, suddenly and unexpectedly 
fell upon the town of Thaba 'Nchu, burnt a large portion of it, 
overpowered Tsipinare's guards, most of whom made but little 
effort to defend their master, and killed the chief himself. 
Tsipinare fell, together with '* Long John," one of his most 
devoted followers, overpowered by numbers ; and for a few short 
hours Samuel gained his object, and occupied the seat of power 
of the Barolong. 

I recollect very well the evening when the news of the rising 
first came to us. There was staying with us at the time one of 
the mission workers at Thaba 'Nchu, an enthusiastic, energetic 
young man of Irish extraction — a young fellow who was good 
nature personified, and who never tired of singing the praises of 
the green glades of the Emerald Isle in the raciest of '' brogues." 
He had come up to S. Saviour's to spend a well-earned holiday, 
and, on the night when the weekly post came in, was sitting 
with me in the study, discussing over a friendly pipe the bright 
and promising prospects of the Thaba 'Nchu Mission. I opened 
the Friend of the Free State, the Bloemfontein paper, and, to my 
astonishment, the first words that caught my eye were '* Terrible 
doings at Thaba 'Nchu." "The Stad burnt." ** Tsipinare 
killed." *' Samuel in Possession " ; and other sentences of like 

'* Why," said I to my young friend, *' what is all this dreadful 
news about Thaba 'Nchu? " 

" What news ? " said he, in his short, sharp, eager way. 

I read the paragraph. 

" What, what, Fhwat do you say?" he shouted. *' Tsipinare 
killed ! No, no, it can't be ! Tell me again. Tell me that it 
isn't true ! " 

GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 249 

I read him the detailed account of the attack upon the chief, 
and of the brave way in which he met his fate. Then my poor 
friend, who had formed a real attachment to Tsipinare, burst out 
in his grief and excitement : 

" Tsipinare dead ! Killed ! Murdered ! Murdered, did you 
say ? Och, och ! Poor Tsipinare ! Dead ! Assassinated ! 
Murdered ! Murdered in his nightshirt ; and I wasrtt there to 
help him I Let me go ! Let me saddle up my pony at once 
and (fo to his rescue ! " 

" Go to his rescue ! " I exclaimed. '* Why, don't you hear 
that he is dead ? " 

The idea of a native chief meeting his death in such a 
garment, and that, too, at high noon, was too much. It was so 
inexpressibly droll that, in spite of the dreadful news, 1 could 
not refrain from laughing. I ought not, of course, to have done 
so, and it agitated my friend more than ever. He sprang up, 
made a huge stride, and, forgetting where he was, and that the hut 
was so small, came suddenly in contact with the wall, fairly butting 
his head against it in his forgetfulness and excitement. Finding 
no outlet in that direction for his wounded feelings, he began to 
stamp upon the floor (it was only an earthen one) with all his 
fury, shouting " Och, och, and I wasn't there ! Murdered ! 
Murdered, did ye say ? Murdered, and I wasn't there ! Poor 
Tsipinare ! " 

Then in his distress he proceeded to tear his hair (fortunately 
he had a good share of that article), beating his big broad fore- 
head with his huge fist, as if it had not already been bumped 
enough by its contact with the wall. 

I could not calm him. He plucked out his hair by the roots, 
" as if," to use the words of Montaign, ** baldness were a cure 
for grief ; " until at last the paroxysm was over, and I got him 
to bed. 

I took care to keep him with us for at least a week after- 
wards, knowing only too well that, were he to return to Thaba 

250 GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884, 

'Nchu, he would soon be in the middle of a mob of Tsipinare's 
partisans, and might be tempted to say and do things which 
would be good neither for the Mission, nor himself. 

Samuel's triumph was short lived. The President ordered 
out at once a strong commando, and, after a few days' parley, the 
chief, together with his principal captains and the Boers who 
were witii him, surrendered themselves to the Orange Free State 
authorities. They were conveyed to Bloemfontein, where they 
were tried soon afterwards upon the charge of murdering a chief 
in alliance with the Orange Free State. The trial caused great 
excitement all over the country, and ended in their acquittal, on. 
the ground that the crime had been committed in independent 
territory beyond the jurisdiction of the court. Samuel, and 
Bogatcho his chief warrior, a brave, and in his way honour- 
able man, and several other leaders of the Barolong, were con- 
veyed to the borders of the State, proclaimed as out- 
laws, and forbidden to put their foot again upon Free 
State soil. The Barolong country was then annexed 
to the Republic of the Orange Free State, due regard 
having been had to vested rights and interests. The Volksraad 
granted certain portions of the territory to chiefs and others not 
implicated in the recent outbreak, and set apart a considerable 
quantity of land on the northern border as a reserve for the 
natives who wished to remain in the country. The remainder 
was divided into farms and sold, a magistrate being placed at 
the town of Thaba 'Nchu. Thus the Barolong ceased to exist 
any longer as an independent people. 

How far these proceedings on the part of the Government of 
the Orange Free State were righteous and justifiable, is a ques- 
tion which it would not become me to answer. It is beyond my 
province to do so. No doubt a great deal could be said on both 
sides. I will only remark here that, surrounded as the Baro- 
long country everywhere was by Free State territory, it is hardly 
to be supposed that the Government of the Republic would con- 

GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 25i 

sent to allow a chief, whose claims had been officially rejected, to^ 
set up an independent authority at Thaba 'Nchu under such 
circumstances. When the choice lay between annexation and. 
anarchy, there could scarcely be a doubt which would be pre- 
ferred. As to the confiscation of much of the native land, one 
can only deplore it. But it is only fair to remember that, though 
such a proceedmg is not the one usually adopted by the British- 
power in South Africa, there have not been wanting many ex- 
ceptions to the rule, and that on a larger scale than in the- 
example before us. The Barolong country was a small one — 
only thirty-three miles by about thirty-six — and contained a 
population of something less than 20,000, ten thousand of which 
resided at the central town of Thaba 'Nchu. 

Thus broken up, and their tribal unity and independence^ 
destroyed, the Barolong people were soon after scattered. About 
half of them acquiesced in the new order of things, and 
remained in their old homes ; a considerable fragment found its- 
way north to Bechuanaland, the land of tlieir forefathers ; some 
were spread over the Free State ; and the remainder, with 
Samuel, Bogatcho, and other leaders at their head, found a refuge- 
in Basutoland, where they were kindly received by Letsie. A 
considerable portion of these latter were Christians, most of 
whom were converts to our own Church ; and these now form a 
portion of the congregation of S. Barnabas', Masite, under the 
charge of the Eev. T. Woodman. 

The August of this year saw an important addition to our 
mission buildings in the shape of a new school-room. My 
readers will recollect that the buildings hitherto erected were 
merely temporary structures of raw brick, or sod, plastered 
with mud; but we felt that the time had at last come for the 
realization of our plans as to structures of a more permanent and 
substantial character. We greatly needed a mission house, our 
huts being, after so many years' wear and tear, almost beyond 
repair ; but a still greater need was a suitable school-room for the^ 

252 GLEAMS OF HOPE, 1884. 

rapidly increasing numbers of our children. Tukunya, the faithful 
old Fingo chief, and his people, had left us the year before, 
migrating far to the south, at the wish of the Colonial Govern- 
ment. There was no prospect of their return being permitted 
to their former homes in Masupha's district, and the Govern- 
ment therefore came to tlie rescue, and provided for them a place 
of refuge in the Matatiele division, where they would henceforth 
be allowed to dwell in peace, without molestation from their old 
enemies. They left Thlotse with real regret,-and we on our part 
were sorry to lose them. Heathens as they were, they possessed 
that ** honest and good heart " so necessary to the reception of 
the truths of the Gospel ; and the seed already sowed seemed 
about to germinate, and spring up, when they were thus called 
away to a distant part of South Africa, remote from any direct 
Christian influence. Over thirty of their boys had attended the 
Mission school, and were among the most promising of our 
pupils, and they were such bright, manly little Jads, that their 
departure was a special source of regret to us. I believe they 
were equally sorry to leave the school, but there was no help for 
it ; and we could only hope and pray that the good impression 
already made upon them might not be allowed to dwindle away 
and die. Sooner or later some Christian influence would reach 
them, and we trusted that our early efforts for their conversion 
might not be altogether without fruit. 

Notwithstanding the loss of these thirty promising lads, the 
school was now larger than ever, and we all heartily rejoiced 
when, on the 7th August, the new building was completed and 
ready for use. 

It was opened by an impressive Benedictory Service, at which 
nearly all our native Christians, a large number of heathen, and 
all the school children were present ; and this service was suc- 
ceeded by a big feast — the greatest feast we had ever given. 
More than 1,000 natives came, with Jonathan at their head, to 
rejoice with us ; and mainly through the kindness of our old and 

QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 253 

steadfast friend, Mr. Richards, of Leribe, we were able to give a 
hearty meal of bread, beef, and coffee, not only to the children,, 
but to over three hundred of their elders. It was a happy day — 
the first real mission feast that we had been able to have since 
the commencement of our troubles in 1880. 

The school-room was a substantial, well-built structure of 
burnt brick, fifty-two feet by twenty-eight, under a galvanized 
iron roof, and the possession of it enabled us to pull down the 
partition wall between the old school-room and the chapel, 
thereby giving us in the latter an additional space of fcwenty 
feet. This also was a great boon— indeed, an absolute necessity — 
in view of the increasing numbers attending the Sunday services. 
Even then we began to feel the need of a much larger place of 
worship, but, at any rate, this additional room would help to 
suffice for present necessities : and we hoped that, please God, 
some day in the not distant future, we might be able to realize 
the dream of years by the erection of a comely house of prayer 
and praise, suited to the needs and requirements of the Mission. 


Quiet Pkogress. 

Death of Canon Beckett — Return of Mr. Champernowne — Additional 
Compound — The New Mission Hou-e — The Liquor Trouble Settled — A New- 
Mission at Masite — Election of a New Bishop — Last Struggles of the 
Mabelete — Submission of Masupha — Signs of Progress — Enclosure of the 
Cemetery and Compounds — Revival of the Choir — Visit of the Bishop — A 
Cannibal Story. 

Early in 1885 the Mission, and with it the whole diocese, sus- 
tained a great loss in the death of Canon Beckett, a venerablo 
priest and servant of God, who had been the founder, and for 
many years the Superior of the Community of S. Augustine, 

254 QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 

and had always taken the deepest interest in the progress of 
the work at Thlotse. He had helped us, as the reader knows, 
by his wise advice as well as by his alms, to start the Mission, 
and only a few months before his death he had provided desks 
and other furniture for the new school. He entered into rest on 
the 23rd of February, after years of patieut suffering, and more years 
still of tenacious, uphill work ; and his name will be long held in 
veneration over all the eastern part of the diocese of Bloemfontem.^ 
" He rests from his labours, and his works do follow him." "j* 

At Easter we were gladdened by the return of my colleague, 
in renewed health and strength His visit to England had 
proved of benefit to the Mission as well as to himself, since our 
friends at home had been able to heat- from the lips of one of the 
Mission clergy a plain, unvarnished account of our actual posi- 
tion, of the trials which had beset us, and of the future prospects 
of the work. He had stirred up and stimulated the interest of 
many members of the Bloemfontein Association, and it was a 
great comfort to us to know that many whom we had never seen 
in the flesh, and perhaps never should see, were daily inter- 
ceding for us at the Throne of Grace. It brought home to us in 
a very real way the invigorating and consoling verity of the 
Communion of Saints. 

Some time before this the Resident, Mr. Alexander Bailie, 
had generously assigned to the Mission a new compound, in lieu 
of the former one, which, it will be remembered, had been occu- 
pied by the refugees who crowded into the place soon after the 
destruction of the training college buildings. In this compound 
I proceeded to build our long needed and long delayed Mission 
house ; and on the 1st May, the Feast of SS. Philip and James, 
it was dedicated to God for the use of the Mission workers by a 

* He was succeeded by the Rev. Canon Douglas, a devoted and widely 
loved man, under whose wise rule and guidance the Society of S. Augustine 
has been fruitful in many good works. 

t Rev. xiv. 13. 

QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 255 

Benedictory Service, according to the custom of the diocese. 
Thus, after a nine years' sojourn in rondavels, we at last had, 
■thanks be to God, a good substantial roof over our heads, and 
rooms large enough to move about in, without our heads bobbing 
against a strip of biltong or a coil of riems hanging from the 
rafters, or our shins coming in contact with the edge of a box, 
bath, or bedstead. The house was substantially built of burnt 
brick, ceiled, and contained nine rooms. It possessed also a 
good broad stoep, to which a verandah has since been added, and 
last, but not least, it stood in its own grounds. These latter 
have since been laid out, and planted with trees and shrubs ; a 
portion being reseived as an orchard, with a kitchen garden 
attached to it. This house was provided and paid for entirely 
by the Mission workers, and their relations, and personal friends, 
supplemented by the offerings of the European congregation, 
the diocese being at the time too poor to make a grant from its 
general fund for such a purpose. 

The July of this year saw the end of the iniquitous, and soul 
and body destroying liquor traffic in Basutoland. Col. Clarke 
and his officers had been doing their best for some time past to 
suppress it ; and now the chiefs, stirred up by an instinct of self- 
preservation, and by the earnest exhortations of Mopedi, began 
to second their endeavours, and co-operate with them in the 
good work. Mopedi was the chief of Witze's Hoek, a Basuto 
reserve in the north-eastern corner of the Orange Free State ; 
and, seeing the havoc wrought by strong drink among his kins- 
men, he made a tour through the Lesuto during the months of 
May and June, and succeeded in effectually rousing Letsie, and 
the people generally, to a sense of their danger. 

Brandy runners had now " a bad quarter of an hour." They 
were tracked out, their waggons and oxen confiscated, the fire 
water spilled upon the ground (its stench was sometimes almost 
overpowering), and they themselves, when caught, heavily fined. 
The Government of the Republic did their share of the good 

256 QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 

work also, and did it so effectually that the border canteens and 
illicit grog depots were put down, and extinguished once for alL 
The plague was stopped, and from that day to this there have 
been no brandy runners, either in Basutoland, or the Orange Free 
State. Let us trust that this nefarious traffic may never again 
be permitted to enter either country. 

This year also witnessed a forward movement on the part of 
the Church. A new Mission was established at Masite, the 
village of the chief Bereng, in the centre of the country. In the 
general ferment caused by the rebellion, and by the anarchy that 
followed it, many native Christians in communion with the 
Church had settled in and around the central districts, and 
their numbers were augmented by the influx of Barolong 
Christians who had followed their Chief, Samuel Lefulere, into 
the Lesuto. Tentative efforts had been made from time to time 
to minister to these, and nowLetsie, Bereng, and other chiefs and 
headmen united together in praying the Church to come per- 
manently into the country. Recognising the need, Mr. Woodman, 
who had hitherto been located at Sekubu, volunteered to step in 
and supply it. Leaving his colleague, Mr. Ball, at that station,, 
he removed to the south, and commenced the work now known 
as the Mission of S. Barnabas, which has become one of the 
most flourishing Missions in the whole diocese. 

Before the year ended, the welcome news reached us that a 
priest had been found in England willing to become our Bishop. 
This was good news indeed, for the diocese had been without a 
chief pastor since the early part of 1883. The clergyman thus 
chosen was the Rev. G. W. H. Knight-Bruce, Incumbent of 
S. Andrew's, Bethnal Green, an important home mission centre 
in the East-end of London, and we hoped much from his appoint- 
ment. He was consecrated Bishop of Bloemfontein on the 
festival of the Annunciation, 1886, in the Church of S. Mary, 
Whitechapel, in the presence of a great crowd of his own 
parishioners, and of the members of the Bloemfontein Diocesan 

QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 257 

Association ; and after several months of earnest effort on behalf 
of the diocese in various parts of England, his lordship set sail 
for his distant sphere of labour, and arrived at Bloemfontein in 
August, amid the ringing of bells and the jubilations of the 

In November, 1885, the Mabelete made their last expiring 
effort for supremacy. Broken and disorganized as they now 
were, they nevertheless contrived to put upwards of 4,000 men 
into the field, and these were encountered by nearly the same 
number of Matikete. For two days the struggle continued. It 
took the form of a series of small fights, which took place at 
points from fifteen to twenty miles distant from Thlotse, and 
resulted in the complete defeat and dispersion of Joel's party, 
which fled in confusion to the Free State or to the Malutis. As 
usual, they had provoked this final conflict by their lawlessness 
and violence. They had deliberately violated the boundaries 
laid down some time before, in the interests of peace, by the 
Paramount Chief and the British Commissioner, and were con- 
stantly carrying off the cattle of the Matikete whenever they had 
the least chance of doing so. But they were now at last 
effectually subdued, and from henceforth troubled us no more. 

The final defeat of our northern foes was not without its 
influence upon Masupha. The old man had long regarded his 
quondam allies with ill-concealed contempt, and he now began to 
show signs of a change of front. Confidential messages passed 
and repassed between him and Jonathan, and we knew that we 
had now nothing more to fear from our earliest and most dreaded 
foe. Jonathan paid a friendly visit to the redoubtable old 
warrior soon afterwards, and was received very graciously, and 
in a few days the feud of years was forgotten ! The logic of facts 
proved to be too strong, even for Masupha ; and now that the 
Mabelete of the north had lost their supremacy, and he was 
once more at peace with his victorious son-in-law, he saw 
nothing to be gained, either for himself or his people, by 

258 QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 

continuing to hold aloof from the Government. His attempt at 
independence and self-government had not been supported by 
any of the other chiefs, and had not been a conspicuous success, 
and he therefore judged that the time had come for him to make 
his peace with the Queen's Commissioner. The personal respect 
which he must have felt for Col. Clarke contributed, no doubt, in 
some degree, to this change of action. In any case, he resolved 
to abandon his position of isolation and opposition, and in the 
following March made his submission to the Commissioner, and 
recqij^ed with all due respect the officials appointed to reside in 
his territory. 

Very pleasant was it once more to live in peace and quietness, 
with no foes to molest us on the right hand or the left, after so 
many years of bloodshed, chaos, and insecurity. We thanked 
God, and took courage. This settled state of quietness and 
confidence had also, as may be supposed, a happy effect upon the 
people. No longer harassed and agitated by fightings, fears, 
and scares, they began to settle down to more peaceful and 
profitable avocations — to build new huts, and to improve their 
old ones, and to cultivate the soil much more largely than 
before. Peace, too, disposed the hearts of many of them 
to higher thoughts, with the result that the number of our 
hearers at the Mission services was greatly increased, and 
that several among them were moved to give themselves to 

During the year we succeeded, by the help of friends at home 
and abroad, in enclosing both our compounds with a strong 
stone wall, a protection greatly needed now that the sod ones were 
old and altogether beyond renewal. The cemetery was also 
enclosed in the same manner, and carefully laid out and 
planted with shrubs and flowers. Several costly memorials 
had been lately put up to the memory of officers who had 
lost their lives in the rebellion. These had been sent out 
from England by relatives, and as they were Christian an4 


QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 259 

tasteful in design, they formed a handsome addition to the 
memorials already erected in the sacred spot. 

The middle of the Trinity season marked the restoration of 
the Mission choir. The old one had come to an end at the 
outbreak of the rebellion, and we thought it best not to attempt 
to restore it until the advent of better days. Most of the old 
members had left the country or were dead, but the two or three 
who remained once more put on their cassocks and surplices, 
and, together with a dozen new lads whom Mr. Beading had 
carefully trained for the purpose, led the services effectively and 
reverently. This was another step gained, small, it might be, 
but not without its influence in mission work, especially in such 
a land and among such a people as ours. 

Towards the end of October we received a visit from our new 
Bishop, who seized the earliest opportunity of making himself 
thoroughly acquainted with the work of the Church in Basuto- 
land. Some extracts from an account of his visit, which I wrote 
at the time, and which appeared soon afterwards in the pages of 
a missionary magazine," may perhaps not be inadmissible 

'' On Tuesday, the 26th October, I rode up to Eiverland, a 
farm and trading station on the banks of the Caledon, and the 
residence of our friend Mr. A. E. Eichards ; and the next day I 
went on to Brindisi, where I was to meet the Bishop. His 
lordship arrived there from Bethlehem just before sunset, looking 
a httle sunburnt after his long journey, but in good health and 
spirits, and much pleased at the thought of being so close to 
Basutoland. Mr. and Mrs. AUum had come with him from 
Bethlehem, and on the following day a considerable number of 
other old friends arrived from various places in the neighbour- 
hood to be present at the Confirmation, which was to be held in 
the afternoon. Mr, Middleton, with his accustomed kindness 

* Bloemfontein Quarterly Paper, January, 1887. 


and urbanity, placed his house at the disposal of the Bishop and 
his party, and lent his lordship a horse next morning for the 
ride to Sekubu — the most northern mission station in Basuto- 
land, and the first to be visited. 

'' The Bishop and myself, accompanied by Samuel Munne- 
sammy, an intelligent young coolie convert, and Seauthlo, a 
newly admitted catechumen, arrived at Sekubu about noon on 
the Friday (the 29th), having called on our way at the Govern- 
ment sub-station at Buta-Bute to exchange a few words of 
greeting with the officials stationed there. A very pleasant day 
was spent at the Mission, the Bishop being satisfied that a good 
and earnest work w^as being done, which would, in due time, bear 
its fruit. 

'' On the evening of All Saints' Day, our indefatigable church- 
warden arrived at the station, and the next morning drove the 
Bishop down to Thlotse in his spider. After a three hours' trek, 
we outspanned near Leribe, at a trading station belonging to 
Mr. Richards, where we found a substantial luncheon awaiting 
us, Mrs. Richards having most kindly come over from Riverland 
on purpose to prepare it for us. While we were engaged in 
doing justice to the good things thus bountifully provided, old 
Mikaele Ramokemane, our volunteer evangelist at Lekhalong 
(one of the Thlotse out-stations), arrived with two or three 
other native converts, being anxious to get an early glimpse of 
the * Mobishopo,' of whose approaching visit they had heard so 
much. After an hour's rest in the heat of the day under the 
hospitable roof of our kind friend, we inspanned, and proceeded 
on our way to Thlotse. When we had driven a little more than 
half way, and were nearing Sebotoane, we suddenly found, on 
emerging from the valley at the foot of the mountain, that the 
Europeans of the town, with Mr. Wroughton, the acting 
Assistant Commissioner of the district, at their head, had come 
out to meet us. All our white people were there, some driving, 
some on horseback, and all of them ready with a hearty welcome 

QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 261 

for their chief pastor. After the interchange of cordial greetings, 
we all proceeded together on our way, the little band of horse- 
men acting as an escort to the Bishop, until we reached the 
brow of the hill overlooking the Mission station, at which spot 
we found my brother clergy and the native catechist and choir 
in their surplices, together with the school children, most of 
our native converts, and a considerable number of the heathen 
of the place, all drawn up ready to receive us. As the Bishop's 
vehicle approached, the choir commenced the Sesuto version of 
' The Church's one Foundation,' which was taken up very 
heartily by all around ; and his lordship, who seemed very much 
touched and impressed by the scene before him, alighted from 
the spider, and stood bareheaded in front of the little company 
of native Christians until the hymn was finished. He was then 
introduced to my colleagues, Messrs. Champernowne and 
Beading, to the sidesman, Mr. E. Pfaff, to Alfred Motolo, our 
principal catechist, and to the leading members of the Mission 
congregation, as well as to several of their heathen friends and 
relations who had come out with them to meet him. Fervid 
' Dmelas ' were heard on all sides, and everyone seemed glad to 
see the * Moruti e Mogolo ' — the Great Teacher. 

'' These salutations ended, the choir re-formed and preceded 
the Bishop into the town, singing hymns and songs of rejoicing in 
their own language as they proceeded on their way. The spectacle 
was a very unwonted one in heathen Basutoland ; indeed, I sup- 
pose it is certain that such a scene had never been witnessed before 
in the country. The surpliced procession, with the sign of 
redemption at its head, standing out in the sunlight against the 
clear blue sky, the harmonious music wafted softly onwards by 
the passing breeze, the joy depicted on the faces of the converts, 
and the wonder expressed on those of the heathen who followed 
them, made the scene a striking one — one w^hich will, I am sure, 
long linger in the memories of those who took part in it. While 
♦speaking of this, I may remark that the processional cross used 

262 QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 

on the occasion (a large and effective one of wood, beautifully 
carved) was made and presented to the Mission by Mr. Pfaflf, a 
member of the choir, ever ready to help forward the interests of 
the Church in any way that lies in his power. 

*' And so we all proceeded, singing through the town, until we 
neared S. Saviour's, when another halt was made, and the choir 
having commenced the AUeluiatic Sequence in Sesuto, we moved 
onwards until we halted finally at the door of the church. The 
Bishop then addressed a few happily chosen words to all around 
him, and with evident emotion thanked them for the truly 
Christian reception they had given him ; remarking that when 
he had started in the morning from Sekubu he felt tired, but 
that now all his fatigue had passed away at so kind and 
cordial a welcome, and that he was indeed glad to be at Thlotse. 

** His lordship stayed ten days in our Mission district, not 
only making himself master of the details of the work at the 
main station, but visiting the out-stations, as well as the more 
important heathen villages in our part of the country. Forty- 
two converts were confirmed, the little temporary church being 
crowded to excess on the occasion, and a large number of heathen 
standing outside round the door. 

" Friday afternoon was intended to be devoted to visiting the 
remaining half of the town, but soon after the confirmation 
service was over a dust storm arose, which interfered for the time 
with our programme. It was quite a la Kimherley in its violence, 
and reminded one somewhat too forcibly of Lord Beaconsfield's 
definition of dirt. The dust was everywhere. In the streets it 
was well nigh blinding and suffocating ; in the houses it was "• laid 
on thick.'' It penetrated one's eyes, mouth, and nostrils ; it made 
one cough, and wheeze, and sneeze ; it peppered one's food, it 
stuck to one's clothes, it sanded one's beard. We do not often 
get such a dust storm in the Lesuto, but, when we do get it, it 
serves to draw closer than ever the bonds of union between our* 
selves and our brethren in the far West at the Diamond Fields. 

QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 263 

For undoubtedly from that far West it comes ; and at times one 
could almost fancy that all the dust of the Kalahari, of Griqua- 
land West, and the Free State, were accumulated together in 
one vast volume, and poured into every nook, and cranny, and 
chink, and crevice of Basutoland. There was nothing for it 
but to stay at home. So stay at home we did, practising as best 
we could the great African virtue of patience. The next day 
was calm, clear, and cool — indeed, almost cold for the time of 
year ; but as the Bloemfontein mail had come in, the Bishop 
was kept in the study all day, busily writing letters. Sunday 
followed, and the services were all bright and hearty, and, of 
course, well attended. There were five of these, in Sesuto or 
English, beginning with an early semi-choral celebration of the 
Holy Eucharist, besides a Sesuto instruction and singing class 
in the afternoon. 

" On the Tuesday the Bishop, Mr. Champernowne, and 
myself paid a visit to Jonathan at his new and rapidly increasing 
town, built on the plateau at the base of Tsikoane. We were 
received with genuine cordiality, the chief pleading with the 
Bishop for a * Moruti ' for his people in their new home. We 
had a long talk together over this important matter, which ended 
by the Bishop promising to remember the chiefs application, 
and to do all he could to meet his wishes. After this we were 
regaled with leting such as chiefs alone can produce. 

"His lordship left Thlotse on the following Tuesday, riding 
with Mr. Champernowne to Lekhalong, a place about eighteen 
miles to the south. All the Lekhalong people, both Christian 
and heathen, with old Sethleiko, their chief, at their bead, came 
out to meet them, singing hymns under the direction of Mikaele, 
the good old Mosuto who is labouring among them as an evan- 
gelist out of pure love, and with no hope of any earthly reward. 
In the afternoon there was a Confirmation Service in the open 
air, the Mission possessing as yet no buildings there from want 
of funds. This was the first Confirmation ever held in the open 

264 QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 

in Basutoland, and some two hundred natives were present at it, 
the great majority of whom were, of course, heathen. Such a 
solemn and impressive service, together with the Bishop's earnest 
addresses to the confirmees, must, one would hope, have made 
a lasting impression upon those present. The chief was in every 
way most friendly, and placed his best hut at the disposal of his 
visitors, providing them with bread, tea, leting, and milk, the 
two former having, no doubt, been specially procured for them. 

" The Bishop and Mr. Champernowne left Lekhalong early 
next morning, after Sesuto Mattins, for Tyatyaneng, visiting one 
of the cannibal caves near Lepoko's village on their way. In 
olden days this cave was a stronghold of the man-eaters, and not 
many years ago a great quantity of human remains was still to 
be seen in and around it. Most of these bones are now, however, 
embedded in dung, the cave being used as a kraal for goats and 
sheep. His lordship picked up a fragment of a bone which the 
shepherds on the spot pronounced to be human ; but having no 
morbid fancy for the possession of such a melancholy souvenir, 
replaced it in the earth, remarking that if it was the bone of an 
animal he did not care to have it, if of a human being it had 
better remain where it was until the resurrection of the great 

" A visit to Lepoko's followed, and as the party were riding 
along they came suddenly upon a number of young girls 
belonging to one of the circumcision lodges in the neighbour- 
hood. The Bishop was staggered at the sight, as well he might 
be ; for the poor creatures w^ere almost entirely naked, and were 
daubed from head to foot with white clay, presenting altogether 
one of the most ghastly spectacles that can be imagined. They 
wore a small reed veil with which they partially hid their faces, 
and walked in solemn procession, keeping up a dismal sing-song, 
which ended every now and then in a series of unearthly howls. 
These and other ceremonies which they imdergo are regarded, 
as I have stated at the commencement of this narrative, as an 

QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 265 

introduction to the rights and duties of womanhood ; and during 
this time of discipline no one is allowed to approach them, or 
converse with them, except the directress of the lodge (generally 
a thoroughly heathen and hideous old hag), and they are regarded 
as unclean. 

'' At Tyatyaneng the Bishop spent a pleasant evening with our 
friends the Sloleys, and went on next morning to Maseru." 

Speaking of the cannibal caves, I remember a story which was 
told me in 1878 by Col. Bowker, an officer of much experience 
in native affairs, who was at that time acting as the Governor's 
Agent in Basutoland. It illustrates the native character so well 
that it may be worth while to relate it here ; and I will do so 
from notes of our conversation made at the time. 

Col. Bowker told me that some time before — I do not recollect 
how long — he was at a French Mission station in the neigh- 
bourhood of one of the caves, and the missionary and he 
talked together over the changes that had taken place during 
the last half century, and the progress the Basutos had made 
during that time, especially of late years. His friend agreed 
that they had made great progress in several ways since the 
extinction of cannibalism. And then he went on to tell him the 
way in which the cannibals disposed of their victims. '' I will 
tell you," said he, *'how the cannibals disposed of their 
victims after they had captured them. Usually they tied a thick 
cord of twisted grass (thapo) round their necks and strangled 
them, but sometimes they cut off one of their fingers and also 
a large piece out of their lip, and then left them in the cave 
to bleed almost to death; after which they put them into a 
great earthen pot filled with cold water, and then (as the 
cookery books have it) boiled them till they were ready. 

"• Well, one day the inhuman wretches went out on a hunting 
•expedition, and managed to entrap two handsome, well-favoured 
young damsels. These were bled in the usual manner, and left 
in the cave to die. The cannibals, having got ready the pot of 
water, went out on a fresh expedition, intending to return in an 

266 QUIET PROGRESS, 1885-6. 

hour or two. But before leaving they placed the bodies in the 
pots, thinking their victims to be all but dead, and then duly 
made up the fires. But one of the girls was by no means 
dead : she had only fainted from loss of blood. Presently,, 
when she came to herself, the horrible truth flashed across her 
mind, and with a yell she leapt out of the pot and bounded 
forth from the cave — her captors not having yet returned — • 
and ran for dear life to a mission station which had been 
recently established, and which was not many miles distant. 

''There she related her story, and was taken care of, and 
soon after was converted to the faith of Christ. 

'* A great many years afterwards, when this young girl had 
become a middle-aged woman, I noticed one day smoke issuing 
from her hut at an hour when it was unusual for natives to 
prepare their food ; and, thinking there must be something out 
of the common going forward, I went to the hut, and enquired 
whether she was keeping festival that day. ' Yes,' said she, ' I 
am making a feast.' ' For whom ? ' said I. ' Who and where are- 
your friends ?' * They are here,' she answered, ' inside.' I looked 
in, and saw three old men sitting round the fire, chatting together, 
and contemplating with evident interest the pot on the fire before 
them, the contents of which were simmering pleasantly. 

'' ' Who are they ? ' I asked. ' Oh,' said she, * tliey arc the men 
who captured we when I was a young (/irl, and put me into their 
big pot to cook me. I have not seen them since. But to-day 
they have come to see me and congratulate me on my escape, and 
of course I can do notliing less than 2)re2Kire a meal for them.^ 

*' And," added the missionary to the Colonel, ''I will show 
you, if you like, the very woman of whom we are speaking." 
The Colonel said that he would very much like to see her. 
Whereupon his friend took him to her hut and introduced him 
to her. '' And," remarked the Colonel to me, '' I looked at her, 
and at once saw the mark in her lip where the piece had been 
cut out, and noticed also that she had lost the tip of one of her 



Sunshine and Shadow. 


Departure of Mr. Reading — Temporary Help — Masupha Fined — The 
Jubilee Memorial Church — Laying the Foundation Stone — Visit of the 
Bishop and Mrs. Knight-Bruce— Tsikoane— Death of the Rev. R. K. 
Champemowne — His Life and Labours— His Last Day on Earth —His 
Funeral — His Example. 

The Bishop's visit had cheered us all, and had given the work a 
fresh start. While he was with us it was arranged that 
Mr. Beading should leave us the Easter following, and go to 
Modder Poort, in order to prepare himself there for the priest- 
hood. As the reader will have gathered, he had been with us 
many years, and we were sorry on many grounds to lose him 
from the Mission ; but it was felt that he had, by his steady and 
persevering labours, proved himself worthy of the higher degree 
of the sacred ministry, and we hoped that his experience at 
S. Sa\dour's would be valuable to him in any new sphere of 
labour to which he might hereafter be appointed. He is now 
doing good service for the Church in the Mohales Hoek and 
Quiteng districts, where important Missions have been com- 
mitted to his care. 

When Mr. Beading left there was staying with us a layman 
who had come on a little visit, intending to remain with us for a 
month or so. Seeing that we were now short-handed, he offered 
to take our brother's place, as far as he could, for a few months, ^ 
and I gladly accepted his offer. He stayed with us until the end 
of June, working vigorously in the school, and taking the entire 
charge of the garden, besides helping us in other ways. But 
circumstances over which he had no control prevented him 


from remaining permanently in Basutoland, and he soon after- 
wards left for England. But he did not remain in the mother 
country many years. He returned to South Africa, and has for 
some time past been living at Robben Island, devoting himself 
iio the care of the lepers (of whom there are a large number) at 
"the leper hospital established by the Cape Government on the 
island — a work of heroic self-sacrifice, to which, I believe, he 
desires to give the remainder of his life. May He Who, when on 
earth, did not shrink from these outcasts of our race, but healed 
ihem with His touch of pity and of power, give His servant grace 
and strength to continue, and to carry out for many years to 
come, the generous ministration of mercy thus begun. 

In the June of this year there was fighting once more : this 
time between Masupha and one of his former allies, Pete, the 
son of Eamanella. But it was outside our district, and affected 
us little or nothing. In this case Masupha's sons were proved 
to be the aggressors : and the old man paid the fine of cattle 
levied upon him by Letsie and Sir Marshall Clarke for not 
keeping his belligerent offspring in better order. 

Our congregations had now increased so much that the need 
of a larger and more suitable church became a pressing necessity. 
Even though the partition wall had been removed, the present 
chapel would barely hold one hundred people seated close together 
on ordinary school forms, and these included the choir, who were 
cramped up in a small space close to the very step of the altar. 
Yet we often contrived to pack a hundred and thirty or more 
inside the building, while outside there were always a number of 
listeners at the door. Open air services were very exhausting to 
the preacher, as I had proved by experience, especially during 
the " Gun War" ; and besides, they could only be held with 
success in fine weather. On wet or windy days they were any- 
thing but effective, not to speak of the discomfort involved in 
attending them. It was manifest that an effort must be made, 
and made soon, to erect a larger and more permanent church. 


Yet how to compass such an undertaking we did not know. The 
diocese was passing through a financial crisis, and was too poor 
to make anything hke a substantial grant for building purposes 
to the Mission. Our own people consisted of a tiny handful of 
Europeans, none of them rich, and a congregation of native 
converts, nearly all of whom were very poor. But both whites 
and blacks were ready to do their utmost to help forward such a 
good work, and they did their duty nobly when the time came. 
Meanwhile, the need of greater accommodation was growing so 
pressing that it seemed useless, if not indeed a mockery, to go 
round to the heathen huts and kraals, and invite their inhabi- 
tants to come to hear the message of salvation, when there was 
no room for them in their Father's house. Often, in answer to 
our exhortations to come and listen to the teaching of the gospel, 
there would be the reply, '' Moruti, I have been, but there is no 
room for me there. The church is too small. We cannot sit in 
it ; we cannot stand in it. As soon as you make the house big 
enough I will come, and I will bring my friends with me to 
hear your thiito (teaching), for I want to hear about God," 

At this juncture an old friend of the Mission came to our 
rescue. Knowing how greatly this want was pressing upon us, 
Canon Balfour — who was now for a time in charge of Harrismith, 
one of the most important towns in the Free State — generously 
offered to raise £300 towards a permanent church for S. 
Saviour's, provided I would arrange that the foundation stone 
should be ready to be laid on the day of the Queen's Jubilee, 

A friend in need is a friend indeed, and I eagerly caught at 
the offer. We had been saving for several years past every penny 
we could lay by for the purpose, and these small sums amounted 
now to nearly £100. A subscription list put out among the 
congregation and their friends produced, in the course of a few 
weeks, £100 more, so eagerly did everyone enter into the 
proposal. A design, with plans and specifications, had been care- 
fully prepared some time before, and I immediately set about 


getting a competent man to put in at least the foundation stone 
of the building. 

Canon Balfour's promise was speedily performed, his own 
purse, I am sure, being considerably lightened by the trans- 
action ; and we had in this way £500 to start with. This more 
than warranted me in having not only the foundation stone laid, 
but the whole foundation finished, and accordingly the work 
was pushed on with vigour, so that the stone might be ready by 
Jubilee Day. The foundation was broad and massive, and 
reposed upon a bed of gravel, which a few feet deeper ended in 
solid rock, and this first part of the work cost just £200. The 
design approved was for a stone building under a roof of 
galvanized iron. Its exterior length was to be eighty feet, and 
its breadth thirty-eight, with clergy and choir vestries on the 
north side, and a sacristy and porch on the south, and there was 
to be a baptistery thrown out at the west end. The interior was 
simple, but effective, and not without a certain dignity of its own. 
A low stone screen separated the nave from the choir, and the 
altar was of good proportions and sufficiently elevated. Such a 
church would cost at least £2,000, and 1 resolved not to under- 
take the commencement of the superstructure until at least half 
the money was ready and waiting in the bank for the purpose. 

It seemed in every way a pity to build with brick when 
beautiful white, grey, and red sandstone was abundant a short 
distance off, especially as the bricks made in South Africa are so 
inferior to those used for church building purposes in Europe. 
We had waited so long for a church, that we were resolved, if 
possible, to have one which should be strong and durable in its 
character, now that apparently the opportunity had come to 
realize the hopes of so many years. So I set to work harder than 
ever to beg — not of our own people, for they had been already 
squeezed quite dry, but of our friends and well-wishers in the far 
off mother country. And I besought everyone I knew above all 
things to pray — to pray earnestly to the Great Head of the 


Church that the money needed for His House might come in^ 
I could not help believing that the Master Whom we served, and 
Whose interests we were endeavouring, in however poor a way, 
to promote, would answer such prayers. And really and truly 
prayer was our only resource, for I had not the vaguest idea 
ivhere the money still needed (at least £1,700) was to come from. 
Prayer, and prayer alone, as far as I could see, must bring it 
to us. 

Meanwhile, Jubilee Day had come. The stone was ready, and 
the Bishop, who had kindly consented to lay it, and had made a 
special journey for the purpose, had arrived the evening before. 
A document written in Latin, English, and Sesuto, setting forth 
the fact that the building now about to be erected was to be 
dedicated to the worship of Almighty God under the title and 
dedication of the Church of the All Holy and All Merciful 
Saviour, was duly prepared. It recorded also the names of the 
Bishop of the diocese ; the clergy and lay-workers, European 
and native, of the Mission ; the Church officers ; the principal 
Government officials ; the Paramount Chiefs, both of the whole 
country and of the division of Leribe ; and the principal chiefs 
and headmen of Thlotse and the Mission district assigned to S. 
Saviour's. This document, duly signed and attested, was 
enclosed in a bottle in the usual way, and sealed up ; and the 
bottle, together with most of the coins of the realm, was 
livrapped in newspapers, English and South African, and 
encased at the proper moment in the foundation stone of the 

Jubilee Day will live in the annals of England as a day of 
Tejoicing throughout the whole world-wide British Empire. 
Without doubt it was a day of rejoicing to us at Thlotse. 
Though it was mid-winter, the weather^ was comparatively warm 
for the time of year, and the sun shone brightly. The day was 
ushered in by the usual Morning Service in Sesuto, followed by a 
celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in which the petitions offered 


for *• Victoria our Queen " came liome to us with special force ; 
and I am sure that many prayers went up that morning to the 
Throne of Grace on her behalf, as well as thanksgivings for her 
long and prosperous reign. We also invoked a blessing on the 
important work which was to mark the day at S. Saviour's, 
praying that the building now about to be erected might remain 
for many generations as a witness of the presence of the Most 
High, and a house of prayer and praise for all people around ; 
and that the truth as it is in Jesus, peace, unity, and love, might 
be taught in it, and ever abide in it. 

Eleven o'clock was the time appointed for the ceremony, and 
long before that hour a large number of natives, with Jonathan 
and the lesser chiefs at their head, had arrived from all parts of 
the district, and taken up their position in the space allotted to 
them. They had, of course, never witnessed such a ceremony 
before, and it greatly excited their curiosity. Cape carts, 
waggons, and other vehicles soon began to make their appear- 
ance, accompanied by a good show of horsemen, the Europeans 
along the Free State border, besides those resident in Basutoland, 
having come over to take part in the proceedings. Two Union 
Jacks were hoisted near the stone, and in front of them were 
marshalled the school children, all polished up and brightly clad 
for the occasion, with faces shimng like burnished bronze. 

At the appointed hour, the clergy and choir issued forth from 
the temporary church, going in procession to the stone, and 
singing, as they moved slowly onwards, the Sesuto version of 
*' Onward, Christian soldiers," to Sir Arthur Sullivan's inspiriting 
music. The beautiful service in use in the diocese of Bloem- 
fontein on such occasions was then commenced, the choral 
portions being nicely rendered by the choir and school children, 
and the hymns taken up with heartiness and vigour by the 
crowd around. The stone was duly laid by the Bishop, with the 
accustomed formula in the Name of the Ever Blessed Trinity, 
and his lordship then delivered an earnest and stirring address, 


thoroughly appropriate to the occasion. After this address, the 
^* Church's One Foundation" was sung with great spirit, and, 
during the singing of it, many offerings were laid upon the 
stone. It was a really pretty sight to see numbers of tiny little 
black dots advance with beaming faces, and deposit their 
^' tickles " (threepenny pieces) in the midst of the small heap of 
larger coins contributed by their relatives and friends. The 
'' Old Hundredth " was then sung of course in Sesuto, like the 
other hymns, and taken up with as much force and fervour as it 
could be in England, the deep voices of the men swelling out at 
times into a grand wave of sound which must have been heard 
at a considerable distance in our clear atmosphere. The cere- 
mony was fitly and appropriately concluded by the singing of 
•** God save the Queen," one of the verses of which had been 
rendered into Sesuto for the occasion, the others being sung, as 
usual, in English. 

Then there followed a big feast of beef, bread, porridge, plain 
cake and coffee, the most appetising portions of the bill of fare 
being, as usual, contributed by our kind-hearted churchwarden. 
The crowd of attendants at this mokete contrived, as only natives 
•can, to dispose of a huge pile of provisions in a remarkably short 
space of time, and certainly the native does not, as the English- 
man has been said to do, '' take his pleasures sadly." The 
guests were fed by relays, and the clatter of tongues in the 
schoolroom where the feast was laid out was deafening and in- 
cessant ; quips and cranks went merrily round, and quiet jokes 
and good-natured ** chaff" provoked continuous sallies of wit 
and bursts of laughter. The hundreds of faces presented one 
great united good-humoured grin, and I think everyone enjoyed 
himself right heartily. 

Cheers for the Church, the Queen, and the Bishop followed, 
and games and athletic sports concluded the happy day. The 
*' tent-pegging " of the native mounted police was a great attrac- 
tion, both from its novelty and from the dexterity and skill 


displayed by the horsemen, who had only recently begun to take 
lessons in it. 

Thus we kept the Queen's Jubilee in our little corner of her 
mighty empire. 

The pressure of work upon my colleague and myself at this 
time was unusually great. The school, in every way the right 
hand of the Mission, was without a master, our native catechist 
at Thlotse having no knowledge of English, and very little 
capacity for the difficult task of teaching the young. Nor had 
he, able as he was in some ways, the gift of keeping a number of 
boys, some of whom were almost little savages, in anything like 
order. So we had to put the school work into commission, I 
taking the morning duty and Mr. Champernowne the afternoon. 
Added to this, there was the additional correspondence involved 
in writing numberless begging letters on behalf of the building 
fund of the new church — a task which had to be performed if the 
church was to be erected at all. We did what we could of the 
most pressing work, leaving altogether for the present such 
things as the translation of the Book of Common Prayer (which 
had largely occupied our spare time for several years), and 
reducing our visits to out stations, all important as that work 
was, to a minimum. 

Early in December the Bishop came to us again for Confirma- 
tions, bringing with him Mrs. Knight-Bruce, whose genial cheer- 
fulness and kindly sympathy brightened our little home, and 
helped to lighten our daily toil. They stayed with us for nearly 
a week, during which time the Bishop visited all the out-stations, 
and devoted one day specially to Tsikoane, where a schoolroom 
was being erected in response to the chiefs appeal, by means of 
some money which had been given for the purpose by an un- 
known friend in England. We had hoped that the room might 
be finished by the time his lordship arrived, but the season had 
been a dry one, and water had become so scarce that there was 
little or none available for building purposes, and the work was 


now at a standstill from lack of it. But, unfinished as the 
building was, the Bishop wished to seize the opportunity, now 
that he was again on the spot, to hold a special Mission service 
just in front of it, thus showing the people of Tsikoane how 
anxious he was to further their interests, and set forward the 
work of evangelization in their town. So we all rode out to 
Tsikoane together, taking the choir with us, and held a most 
impressive open-air service close to the unfinished schoolroom. 

The Bishop received the usual hearty welcome from Jonathan 
and his people, who were one and all specially pleased to see 
the wife of the '' Great Teacher " among them. Seven hundred 
men — Jonathan's chosen warriors — marched up from the 
Khothla to the school, with the Bishop and the Chief at their 
head, and as they were all, without exception, heathen, it may be 
seen at once what a splendid field is open to the Church at 
Tsikoane for missionary effort. It was arranged that a resident 
native schoolmaster-catechist should be appointed as soon as a 
competent man could be found for the post ; £25 per annum 
having been promised towards his support by the same unknown 
benefactor (whom may God bless !) who had provided the school. 
I felt that, humanly speaking, it was the Bishop's influence 
alone that had gained us this start at Tsikoane ; and there 
was now a hope that a response might be made, at least in 
some degree, to the oft-repeated appeal of the chief for a 
** Moruti." The future looked hopeful and encouraging, as far 
as this new undertaking was concerned, and I once more thanked 
God and took courage. 

The Bishop had not been gone from us a fortnight when the 
Mission was called upon, in the Providence of God, to suffer a 
great and irreparable loss. My dear brother priest and 
colleague, Mr. Champernowne, was suddenly called away to 
his eternal rest. 

What a blow this was to myself can be imagined when it is 
remembered that he and I had been close companions, bound 


together in love in the same work and the same interests, for 
more than eight years. 

The first time that I met him was at Modder Poort at the end 
of 1873. I was on the point of starting for England, and rode 
over from Bloemfontein, which had been for some time my 
sphere of labour, to say good bye to my old friends at the 
Brotherhood Farm. Mr. Champernowne was spending a few 
weeks there at the time, having just come out to South Africa 
on a visit to a cousin who had been for some years a worker at 
the Brotherhood station. He was in rather delicate health, and 
intended, he told me, to stay in South Africa six months, he 
liked the country and its climate so much. He had suffered 
severely at times from asthma, and the dry, warm, rarified air of 
the Orange Free State exactly suited his constitution, and made 
him feel in better health and spirits than he had been for years. 
Habitually grave in manner and demeanour, he was not without 
a keen sense of humour, and dearly relished a good joke. 

He already felt a strong vocation for Holy Orders, and he and 
I had a pleasant chat together over Oxford life, and the admirable 
training for the ministry which Cuddesdon afforded. He had 
had the full benefit of that training, after having taken his degree 
at Christ Church, and I remember how his face glowed with 
pleasure and affection when he spoke of Dr. King, the present 
loved and revered Bishop of Lincoln (at that time the Principal 
of the college), and of his power and influence for good over 
the men under his charge. This pleasant chat, over a couple of 
pipes under a blue gum tree, was the commencement of a life- 
long affection betw^een us. 

Soon after this I left for England, and, during my stay in 
the mother country, was privileged to pay a visit to his father, 
the Rector of Partington, an honoured and venerable parish 
priest, who has only recently passed away to his rest. Nurtured 
in that lovely Devonshire home, it must have required some 
heroism in my friend to tear himself away from it, and ex- 


patriate himself as he did for good and all when, some years 
afterwards, the call came to him to go out and labour among the 
heathen in Basutoland. That he ever ''looked back" after 
having "put his hand to the plough," no one who knew him 
could for a moment believe. 

I do not remember seeing him again, except once, for a short 
time in Bloemfontein, until the Lent of 1878, when he came to 
stay with us for a few weeks at Thlotse. His contemplated stay 
of six months in South Africa had lengthened out into nearly 
five years ! He had been ordained to the diaconate some time 
before by Bishop Webb ; but — partly, I am sure, from humility, 
and partly because he was not certain how long he might be 
able to stay in the diocese — he had not yet offered himself for 
the priesthood. He came to us now while on his way to 
England, I, for my part, thinking that the mother country would 
be, in all probability, his future field of labour. Later on in the 
same year, when we had planned the establishment of a training 
institution for native catechists, I wrote to him, and offered him 
the chaplaincy of it, but without stipend, our resources being so 
few and scanty. 

He felt drawn to our diocese, and his father had generously 
given him permission to return to South Africa, should he decide 
to do so. But he could not make up his mind. There were not 
wanting circumstances which pointed to his stay at home ; and 
on the other hand, he did not hear the voice of the Divine 
Master calling him distinctly to the foreign mission field. So 
he patiently waited, and prayed for guidance before deciding. 
He knew nothing of our plans at Thlotse, and had no idea that 
I was contemplating the possibility of a native training college. 
He spent a *' quiet day " with some friends in the ministry, but 
was still undecided what to do. At last the call came. 

He was in Derbyshire, amid the lovely scenery of Dovedale, 
at the time. Walking out one day alone, communing with God 
and seeking for guidance, he heard what he took to be the voice 


of his Lord speaking to his heart, and saying, ** Offer yourself 
for the work at Thlotse." In a moment his irresolution 
vanished, and he hastened to obey the call. He went home, 
told his father, obtained his permission to go, and wrote at 
once to me offering to come out to the Mission at his own 
expense and work without stipend, in the event of my 
being able to find a '' vacant corner " for him. 

It is noteworthy that, at the very time the call came to him, I 
was writing to him to offer him the appointment I have spoken 
of. My readers may perhaps remember that, when the idea of 
establishing a native institution first presented itself to my mind, 
I called the two Sekubu brethren together and consulted them 
about it. My letter to Mr. Champernowne was the outcome of 
our conference by the river side, after that early celebration of 
the Holy Communion, in which we had prayed together for 
guidance in so important a matter. Our letters therefore crossed 
on the ocean, and at the time he received my invitation I was 
reading his letter to me offering to come. We both regarded 
this as a sign that he was called to labour at S. Saviour's, and 
that the voice which spoke to him was no vain or delusive one, 
but the voice of God. It was, we believed, a direct answer to 
prayer ; for we had been praying together at Thlotse that he 
might be guided, if it were God's will, to come out to us, at 
the very time that he was alone seeking Divine guidance in 
that Derbyshire valley. 

He returned to the diocese early in 1879, going first to 
Bloemfontein to be ordained to the priesthood. By this act he, 
as it were, '' burnt the bridge " behind him, since ordination in 
that city subjected him to the provisions of the Colonial .Clergy 
Act, should he ever think of returning to England and exer- 
cising his ministry there. But be had no such thought or 
intention. He had given himself to the heathen, and desired to 
live and die among them as a simple Mission Priest. And his 
wish was granted. The knowledge that he was, as he believed. 


SO plainly called to S. Saviour's, helped to increase and 
strengthen his affection for the work there as time went on, and 
I do not think he ever had a thought of leaving it, though at 
times other spheres of usefulness were open to him. When 
the training college scheme came to nought, he still stayed on, 
©hoosing rather to remain at the Mission with merely the status 
of an assistant curate, than to leave and take independent charge 
of a parish or mission elsewhere in the diocese. 

How he worked on steadily, and with one single aim, and 
that, too, often in failing health, through evil report and good 
report, through cloud and sunshine, through adversity and 
prosperity, these pages have already shown. His quiet, patient, 
unostentatious but persistent work for God, was not marked by 
any public acclamations, nor did it meet with any earthly reward. 
Such things are not to be looked for in an obscure corner of a 
remote and little known heathen country, and perhaps they are 
not without a danger of their own when they do fall to the 
minister of Christ. But our brother's ministerial career was not 
the less a splendid record of toil and devotion, undertaken and 
continued to the end for the glory of God and the salvation of 
the poor souls among whom he laboured. 

He died— as he had lived — in harness. He was, as I have 
said, called away to his rest very suddenly, but I cannot doubt 
that he was ready. Nor, I venture to think, will the reader 
when he reads the record of his last day on earth. 

That last day was Wednesday, the 14th December, 1887. 
The weather was intensely hot at the time, and had been for 
several weeks past, no rain having fallen for many months. The 
thermometer was sometimes as high as 105 degrees in the coolest 
shade, and the heat tried us sorely — tried him especially — short- 
handed as we were, and with so much work to be done. I did 
what I could to spare him from undue pressure, and often sug- 
gested the need of more rest, but he could not bear to see any- 
thing left undone, or apparently neglected, so entirely absorbed 


was he in the work. So he laboured on, I fear beyond his 

On that last day of his life he had devoted the morning to 
visiting among the slums — there are, alas, such things at Thlotse 
— and they were worse then than they are now. In the after- 
noon he took the school, but for a shorter time than usual, the 
children coming out on Wednesdays before the ordinary hour of 
closing in order to attend a short Mission service, with catechising 
in the church. This service I conducted myself, and when it 
was concluded, as I was coming out of the church, I met him at 
the door. He told me that he desired (in the words of our 
Church) '*to receive the benefit of absolution'' according to 
*'the ministry of God's Holy Word," and I returned with him 
into the sacred building to execute this holy ministry. Whether 
he had any presentiment that his death was so near I do not 
know. Certainly I had not, when I gave him the absolution he 
sought, and commended him to God with the accustomed words 
of peace and blessing. Little did I think that he would never 
again hear on earth the assurance of pardon through the precious 
Blood of Christ. Little did I imagine that, in a few short hours, 
he would be standing in the immediate presence of the Great 
Absolver Himself, to hear from His Own Mouth the ratification 
of the words of peace and forgiveness so lately uttered by my 
unworthy lips. But it was so, though I knew it not, nor had 
the least conception of it. But, looking back, I see that his 
Lord was thus preparing him for the end that was so near ; and 
surely it was fitting that so pure and guileless a soul should go 
straight to Jesus with the words of peace and pardon restmg 
fresh upon him. 

It was half-past five o'clock when we came out of church. 
He went to his study to write a Sesuto sermon for the following 
Sunday, the 4tli Sunday in Advent. The study was a rondavel 
of which he was very fond, contiguous to the Mission House, 
and many an earnest conversation had he held in it with our 


Christian neophytes, and with those among the heathen whose 
hearts grace had touched and softened, and who manifested a 
desire to be led to Jesus. Going into the hut next morning 
after his death, I found upon the table the unfinished Advent 
sermon which he had been engaged in writing. His habit 
was to write out his discourse^ learn it by heart (a remarkable 
gift), and then preach it without note or manuscript. 

This, the last sermon that he ever penned, was on. 
death. ** It is appointed unto men once to die "* was hia 
text. He had sketched out the skeleton of it, and filled in a 
portion. The last words he had written were these : — '' E, Lefu 
le thla thla go rona botle." *' Yes, death will come to us all." 
*' Empa neneng ? " '' But when ? " '' Ga re tsebe." " We do 
not know." '' Ekaba le haufi." '' Perhaps it is near." " Ekaba 
le thla thla gosasane." '* Perhaps it may come to-morrow." 
There the pen had been laid down, never to be taken up again.. 
One cannot help again wondering whether he had any presenti- 
ment that it was so near to him —that it would come to Mm on tha 
morrow. In any case, it is remarkable that these should be the- 
iast words he ever wrote. It was close upon, midsummer, at 
which time the sun sets with us at 7 o'clock. Just as the sun 
was dipping under the western horizon, he came to me (1 was 
doing a little light gardening work at the time) to tell me that 
he was suffering from a sick headache, and felt '' fit for nothing." 
I gently chided him for remaining so long at sedentary work in 
the study in such excessive heat, and after so many hours of un- 
remitting labour — for, of course, we are early risers at the 
Mission — and advised him to lie down in the shade on the stoep,. 
and rest until supper time. I thought he was suffering from 
one of those bilious attacks to which all are liable in hot 
climates such as ours, and which, though severe while they 
last, are not, as a rule, dangerous. He took my advice, and I 

"^ Heb. ix. 27. 


remember looking up while weeding the flowers not far from 
where he was reclining, and observing him gazing at the mountains 
opposite, whose majestic peaks were at that moment all aglow 
with the resplendent rays of the setting sun. How little did I 
think that that was the last glimpse he was destined to have of 
the glories of earth, and that a vision of beauty far exceeding 
any that this world can offer would be his ere the sun rose on 
the morrow ! 

As evening advanced, feeling no better, he retired to his 
room. He took a cup of tea, but did not care to have any medi- 
cine, saying that it would only wegiken him. Rest and sleep 
were what he most needed — so it seemed — and I hoped that they 
might restore him, as they had often done before. 

He was to have taken the Sesuto Celebration early next 
morning, but I told him not to think of getting up for it ; I would 
take it myself. 

I saw him two or three times during the evening, and when 
I retired to rest at ten o'clock he was lying on his bed in his 
cassock in a profound slumber. I thought it a pity to wake him, 
and left him lying as he was, asleep. 

Next morning, just after six, I knocked at his door, and 
receiving no answer, entered his room. I found him as I had 
left him, still lying in his cassock, asleep. But it was the sleep 
of death : he was asleep in Jesus. There was a soft smile upon 
his lips, and the look of weariness and pain of the night before 
had passed away. His face now wore an expression of radiant 
joy, as if he were dreaming a delightful dream, or beholding 
some fair vision. 

Hastily I ran up into the town and summoned the two or 
three friends at hand to the bedside, and they agreed with me 
that his spirit had not long departed from its earthly tabernacle, 
for his body was not yet entirely cold. He had probably died 
just as the sun was rising, an hour before. 

We sent at once to Ficksburg for our kind friend Dr. Taylor, 



but be was absent from home, and could not come that day. He 
arrived next morning, and after a post mortem examination, 
pronounced that our dear brother had died of serous apoplexy ; a 
conclusion which was borne out by the fact that the pillow of his 
bed was saturated with water. 

The last sad offices of love towards the thin, fragile form, 
were carefully and reverently performed by Mrs. Beeves, the wife 
of our Postmaster — a good soul, always ready to do any act of 
kindness in her power — and the body was clothed in the sacred 
vestments in which our brother had so often ministered at the 
Altar of God. A continuous stream of people came to take a 
last look at the face they loved so well, and many and heartfelt 
were the tears shed by our sorrowing converts as they stood by 
that couch of death. Many heathen came too, and '' smote upon 
their breasts and returned," sobbing aloud as they did so, for our 
brother was beloved by all. '' If ever there was a saint of God, 
he was one," said an official to me ; and I felt that the testimony 
was true. 

He was buried on the afternoon of the next day. There was 
a Celebration in the early morning, at which every native Chris- 
tian who was on the spot or anywhere near was present. The 
Service was inexpressibly touching, and went home to the 
hearts of all. I think everyone was in tears, and after the 
Prayer of Consecration the stillness was for some moments abso- 
lute and deathlike. Then, presently, one great sob went up 
from the whole congregation, and I feared that they would be 
unable to restrain themselves, and break out into wailing and 
lamentation ; for natives have not been trained in the habit of 
self-control as we Englishmen have, and, at times of sorrow and 
bereavement, often give themselves up to passionate and frenzied 
exclamations of woe and despair. But they had been taught that 
such violent and outward expressions of grief were out of place in 
the House of God, and accordingly they mastered their feelings, 
and behaved with the greatest reverence and decorum to the end. 


Our Mission station is so remote that it was not possible for 
any of the other clergy of the diocese, except those at Sekubu and 
Modder Poort, to be in time for the funeral. But Mr. Reading, 
who received the sad intelligence just in time to be present,, 
started at once, and by hard riding accomplished the journey^ 
He was accompanied by Brother Bernard, who came to repre- 
sent the Society of S. Augustine ; for Mr. Champeruowne had 
often spent his holidays at Modder Poort, and was always a 
welcome guest at the Brotherhood house. Our friend Mr. Ball,, 
of Sekubu, being only four hours' distant, had arrived the 
evening before, and had assisted at the Celebration in the 
morning. Wreaths of the choicest flowers were sent by everyone 
who had a garden, and among them came a beautiful one from 
Madame Weitzecker, the wife of the French Protestant missionary 
at Manamasoane. M. Weitzecker himself rode over for the 
funeral, an act of brotherly sympathy which we gratefully 

That the funeral procession was followed by a great concourse 
of people, I need not say. We buried our dear brother by the 
side of his sister, in the row set apart for the Mission workers,, 
of whom four had now been called away to their rest within 
ten years ; so deeply had the mark of the cross been stamped 
upon S. Saviour's. 

Richard Keble Champernowne was a man of one aim and 
one object. His character was emphatically a simple one. I 
never knew a man who cared less for the world and the things 
of the world. He counted all things as mere earthly dross, so 
that he could *' win Christ and be found in Him." Personal 
devotion to Jesus w^as at the root of his life and work, and that 
carried him through all. Without that a mission priest is bound 
to fail, however much he may seem to succeed. It is the only 
thing that wears ; the only thing that endures to the end. 

Studious in his habits and scholarly in his tastes, my 
colleague was a diligent student of the Word of God. That he 



Avas a man of prayer goes without saying. Though not naturally 
a brilliant man, he made good, solid progress in the native 
language, having made up his mind to master it. He studied it 
daily, and though never an apt or ready speaker of it in 
ordinary conversation, acquired, perhaps, a more critical know- 
ledge of it than any of us, and preached in it acceptably and 
with power. That he had his failings may be readily granted. 
TVhich of us has not ? But they were so trivial, and so unim- 
portant, that they were forgiven and forgotten in the general 
excellence of his character, and his unwearied, self-sacrificing 
devotion to his Master's cause. I, who knew him so closely and 
so intimately for so many years, can bear testimony to his 
holiness of life. He was one of the purest, truest, most single- 
hearted followers of Christ that I have ever known. 

And now he was no longer with us here. His labours were 
-ended, and he was at rest. As the grave closed over his remains, 
and I walked sorrowfully homeward from the cemetery in the 
lengthening shadows of the fast-departing sun on that December 
afternoon, the loss that the Mission had sustained was borne in 
upon me in its fulness. I began to realize the fact that I was 
once more alone. Two men had been working together in the 
field of the Lord ; the one was taken, and the other left. But 
why ? And why should the younger and the better man be 
taken first ? I could not tell, except that it was because he was 
better, and I not worthy to go. I could only say, '' It is the 
Lord ; let Him do what seemeth Him good."* 

Good bye, brother beloved, good bye. But not for ever ! 
There will dawn upon us in God's own time the Day of Eeunion, 
to which we all look forward with the gaze of faith, and with 
yearning, hopeful hearts. Meanwhile, for a little space, farewell. 
Sala hauthle. The all-loving Lord grant unto thee light, 
refreshment, and peace in the abode of the Blessed. Phomola 
ka Khotso Paradeising. 

* 1 Samuel iii. 18. 


As for me, though the cloud has fallen upon me and the mist 
once more enwraps me, so that I cannot see what lies in the 
onward path, I know that, spite of all, there is a Hand that will 
not fail to uphold, and a Light that will shine athwart the dark- 
ness to guide me on my way. May that Light not shine across 
my path in vain. 

Lead, kindly Light, amid the eacircling gloom, 

Lead Thou me on ; 
The night is dark, and I am far from home, 

Lead Thou me on. 
Keep Thou my feet ; I do not ask to see 
The distant scene ; one step enough for me. 
* • *• * 

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still 

Will lead me on 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till 

The night is gone. 
And with the morn those angel faces smile, 
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile. 


Tribulation and Joy. 

Church Building Prospects — The Champemowne Memorial Lectern — 
Andrew Makhobothloane — Opening of the Tsikoane School — Scandals — 
Mrs. Gummidge — Depression— The Church Recommenced — The Salva- 
tion Army — Help at Last — Lapse of Alfred Motolo — Completion of the 
Church — Service of Dedication — Last Words. 

The death of Mr. Champernowne gave us our Church. His 
father received the tidings with the truest Christian resignation, 
and at once offered to add ^6500 to the Church Building Fund as 
a mark of sympathy with the Mission in its loss. Thlotse was 
now doubly dear to him, and he did all in his power, both by 


word and deed, to help forward the work there, and to 
strengthen and sustam my hands. Another member of the 
family sent me £100, and other friends in England, personally 
unknown to me, came also to our aid. Among these were 
the good people of Weybridge, who sent us two handsome 
offertories. Thus, by the winter of 1888, I had more than the 
thousand pounds in the bank necessary for the commencement of 
the building. The church would be now in a double sense a 
memorial one. It was to be not only a Jubilee Memorial to her 
Majesty the Queen, but also a Memorial to the workers of the 
Mission now at rest. 

A special memorial to my dear brother priest was also sub- 
scribed for by the clergy and others of his friends in the diocese ; 
and this took the form of a handsome brass eagle lectern, which 
arrived from England before the building was finished. 

At the beginning of the year 1888 I was able to secure the 
services of an assistant for the school, who has since been 
licensed to the Mission as a catechist. This young native, 
Andrew Makhobothloane by name, was one of our first boarders, 
and owed most of his early training to Mrs. Widdicombe. After 
her death he remained with me until the outbreak of the rebel- 
lion, when, as the reader knows, the Mission was broken up, and 
our boys scattered. Andrew then went down to the Eastern 
Province of the Cape Colony, and obtained employment for some 
time as a telegraph messenger at East London and Queenstown. 
After that he was sent by an uncle, a Wesleyan Christian, to the 
Wesleyan Training College at Benson Vale. And now, his father 
having died not long before, he had returned to Thlotse, though 
his college course was unfinished, in order to support, as far as 
he could, his widowed mother and his numerous brothers and 
sisters, most of whom were still very young. He had, of course, 
no Government certificate, and was not sufficiently educated or 
experienced to take charge of a large and important school like 
ours ; but I was, nevertheless, glad to accept his services, and 


he made an efficient assistant to myself in the daily work of the 

On the Second Sunday in Lent we inaugurated the mission 
work at Tsikoane with a most hearty and successful service. 
Our Thlotse Christians went out with me, and some of the 
Europeans joined us, and we spent a happy day there. Jona- 
than, his wives, counsellors, and head men were there, and all 
the people of the place with them ; and I arranged for an 
evangelistic service to be held in the new school-room every 
alternate Sunday, either by a native catechist or by myself, and 
for school for the children three days in the week. That was all 
that could possibly be done under present circumstances. 

Soon after this a heavy trial fell upon the Mission, different 
in character from any that we had hitherto had. The senior 
catechist, Alfred Motolo, was accused of grievous misconduct, 
and others of our native Christians, notably the young people, 
followed his evil example, and were giving trouble likewise. 
The air was thick with stories, accusations, and rumours, and 
the scandal to the Mission was great ; and that in the face of 
such a large heathen population at our doors watching our 
manner of life and conversation day after day. 

I investigated everything that was brought to my knowledge 
most fully and carefully, taking care to have the Church Council 
present throughout the proceedings. The Council consisted of 
three of our oldest and most trustworthy men — communicants, 
and all three Basutos, elected by the congregation to aid me and 
strengthen my hands by their counsel and advice in matters of 
discipline connected with the Mission. All the accusations and 
charges were gone into, with the result that two of our com- 
municants were placed under discipline for a season. But 
nothing was proved against the catechist. The evidence against 
him was unsatisfactory, and far from clear, and as he stoutly 
maintained his innocence, I felt bound to give him the benefit of 
the doubt, and declare him free from blame. Yet I had my mis- 


givings as to the truthfulness of his statements, and feared that 
there had been prevarication all round ; and time, alas, proved 
that these fears were far from groundless. 

I was sitting moodily one day upon the stoep, '* thinking by 
myself, as the Germans say, and repeating, not, I fear, in a very 
patient spirit, Keble's lines : — 

Lord, in Thy field I work all day ; 
I read, I teach, I warn, I pray ; 
And yet these wilful, wandering sheep, 
Within Thy fold I cannot keep. 

I was, I say, sitting thus, when suddenly poor old Gummidge, 
whom I had not before seen that day, mounted the steps of the 
stoep in a limp, feeble sort of way, far removed from her usual 
springiness and alacrity, and stood before me. 

But who is *' poor old Gummidge " ? the reader will ask. 

Gummidge — or to be respectful, and give her her full name, 
Mrs. Gummidge — was my best loved and favourite cat. She was 
twelve years old — very old for a cat, at any rate an African cat ; 
and she stood before me now, looking up into my face with an 
expression which it is difficult, if not impossible, to put into 
words. There was in that look sorrow, affection, suffering, 
and resignation, all blended into one. She did not utter a sound, 
but stood gazing into my very eyes with a look that seemed 
to say, as plainly as words could say, '' Farewell, old Master, 
We have been companions together for many long years, and 
now I am going to leave you, and you will see me no more. 
But you will remember me, and the many pleasant hours we 
have spent together in days gone by for ever." 

At once the thought took possession of me that she was 
going to die, and had come to take a last look at the master for 
whom, in her poor dim way, she was not without affection, before 
her life had ebbed away. She turned to go, and I spoke an 
endearing word to her ; upon which she half bent round towards 
me, and gave me a last lingering glance, oh, so mournful — so 


inexpressibly, pitifully mournful — that the tears started un- 
bidden to my eyes. Then she tottered away, slowly and feebly, 
and went round to a hut at the back of the house which was 
half full of straw, where she usually slept. I had not the heart 
to follow her, knowing that I could do nothing for her. She 
was old, and had suddenly become feeble and decrepit, and her 
hour had come. 

But some time afterwards I summoned up courage enough 
to go round and see if she were really dead. It was as I thought. 
Her body was lying cold, rigid, and lifeless upon the straw. I 
think she must have died as soon as she reached the hut. 
Perhaps she had risen from her deathbed to creep feebly 
round and give me that last look. I think it was so. I took 
up, as tenderly as I could, the poor worn form of my faithful 
old friend, and carried it into the garden, where I buried it 
beneath the spreading branches of our best apple tree. 

Dear old Gummidge ! 

How did I get her ? you ask ; and how came she to have 
such a singular name ? I will tell you. 

She was one of the kittens given to us to *' start us in life 
with" (as perhaps the reader may remember), when we first went 
to Thlotse, by Emma Bell, Colonel Bell's little daughter, and 
soon learnt to make herself at home in her new surroundings* 
She was not what would be called a handsome kitten, though 
her winsomness, together with her downrightness of character, 
soon made her a general favourite. She was fawn and white in 
colour, and prettily marked, and had a pleasant look, and an 
intelligent, '' knowing " face. 

As she grew up to mature cathood, we observed that when 
things went smoothly and easily with her and ourselves, she 
often manifested a sort of uneasiness, not to say discontent ; 
wandering about and whining in a disconsolate way, as if she 
were lamenting the prosperous state of affairs. She seemed to 
be most happy when there was no meat in the house, and 



not more than a tablespoonful of milk to be poured out for 
her. She would eat her mealie meal porridge at such times, all 
sticky as it was, with apparent relish, and lick her lips after it 
as if it were a toothsome repast of bird, reptile, or fish. Then 
she would go a hunting ; and woe to the mouse, snake, lebodu, 
lizard, or locust which came across her path ! Woe, too, to the 
small birds ! A cat is a necessity in our circumstances, and we 
had several ; but she was the cleverest hunter of them all. 
Nothing escaped her. I fear she rather spoilt her companions 
by so constantly bringing to them a large share of the prey she 
captured. She thought more of them and of their kittens than 
of herself, and it was an everyday sight to see her with a bird or 
reptile in her mouth, calling them to the feast which she had 
provided for them. She would look on with the greatest 
satisfaction while they appropriated and enjoyed the fruit of her 

One day, when she was pacing about in a disconsolate frame 
of mind, one of us remarked, '' She is just like Mrs. Gummidge 
* crying for the old 'un ! ' " And forthwith we dubbed her 
Gummidge, after that celebrated creation of one of our greatest 

I have heard it said that cats are not capable of much aifec- 
tioQ for their masters, and perhaps there is some truth in the 
assertion. Certainly they are not generally equal to dogs in this 
respect, but Gummidge was an exception. She knew us all, and 
was in her way really attached to us. She used to follow us into 
the veldt for a considerable distance, like a dog, when we took our 
walks abroad. But she would draw a line at a certain cross road 
on the way to Leribe : she would not go beyond that. When 
we attempted to go further she would resolutely sit down, and 
mew until we turned back, or struck off across the veidt at a 
right angle in the direction of Sebotoane, when she would bound 
towards us with grunts of delight, and scamper on in front of 
us, or trot along with evident satisfaction at our side. She knew 


well enough, or at any rate seemed to know, that the angle 
meant another turn further on in the direction of home. But as 
to advancing further than the cross road, she would not hear of 
it. We had gone far enough, and if we went further, perhaps 
we might never come back any more ! 

At night, when occasionally I went out to the other end of the 
town to spend the evening with a friend, she would always be 
waiting half-way up the road, fearing neither dog nor man ; and 
the moment she heard my footsteps she would hurry forward to 
meet me with her cheeriest mew, and never fail to see me 
safe home to my study door. 

When she grew still older, she became the general mother 
and nurse of all the kittens attached to the establishment. We 
were constantly in a state of kittens, and Gummidge did her 
best to attend to them all. If she had not ker own to care for, 
she had somebody else's, and it was all the same to her. Two 
of our cats, like some of their betters, preferred to perform their 
maternal duties vicariously. In particular, there was a naughty 
black and white huzzy called Spot that liked to do so. She 
would calmly walk off and leave her offspring, knowing, I 
suppose, full well that ** old Gummidge " would hear the cry of 
the helpless little things, and hasten to their rescue. 

In England most kittens — in fact, all but one I believe- 
usually meet with an accident at an early stage of their exist- 
ence ; but out in the wilds in Basutoland, where we are less 
civilized and more primitive, two at least generally contrive to 
live. Gummidge often had four or five to care for. We used 
sometimes to think that it was an example of the willing cat 
being worked to death, but it was not ; for she outlived all her 
companions. While they perished or came to an untimely end 
by their follies or vices, she believed that it is better to wear 
out than to rust out, and no doubt she was right. 

How she managed to escape during the war I really do not 
know. She must often have been in peril from the bullets of 


our enemies, some of which not only ploughed up the garden, 
but would at times pierce their way through the doors or 
windows of our huts, and fall at our feet inside. But none of 
them ever struck her, nor did any of the men of the native 
contingent ever lay violent hands upon her and broil her upon 
a spit, fond as they were of Katse-Katse. I often trembled for 
her, but my fears were always groundless. As soon as the noise 
and hubbub of the fight were over, she would emerge from I 
know not where — a hole in the ground, or an empty box in a 
corner of one of the huts, or some other equally safe hiding- 
place — and walk along demurely at my side, or get in front of 
me and insist on trying to saw off my legs with her tail (much 
to my detriment) as I paced up and down the garden reciting mv 

Once she performed a deed of heroism which ought to be 
related, if only to show that I have not been too lavish in my 
praises of her. 

In February (I think it was), 1888, a terrific hail storm 
swept across the heights from Tsikoane to Buta-Bute, taking 
our station on its way. The stones were not those large ones 
which sometimes come down with a crash upon the heads of 
people in the veldt and kill them : mercifully for our garden they 
were small in size — some of them, indeed, quite tiny little things. 
But the quantity that fell was prodigious, and the swiftness with 
which it was hurled down upon us not less so. It beat down 
remorselessly every herb and flower, and stripped every shrub 
and tree of its foliage, leaving nothing visible but a number of 
hideous and forlorn looking stumps, where before had been 
masses of the most luxurious foliage. It covered the whole com- 
pound with what in the darkness— for it was dusk when it began 
to fall — looked like one great sheet of shining pearls of ice. The 
downpour lasted barely twenty minutes, but during that time the 
sound was deafening, and enough hail had fallen to cover the 
whole garden to the depth of nearly two feet outside our huts. 


and more than three at the bottom wall, where the ground 
sloped gradually down to the end of the compound. And it 
bi^ought down the temperature in those few minutes nearly forty 
degrees — from over 70 degrees to 36 degrees. 

I thought of my poor pet and her kittens, fearing that they 
were all outside exposed to the storm. The air was piercingly 
cold when I went out to ascertain what had become of them. I 
hoped that they had found their way into a disused dog kennel 
between two of the rondavels, but, to my distress, I found that 
they were not there. I knew that they and all our cats had been 
playing together just before the hail began to fall, and feared that 
the kittens had been beaten to the earth, and killed by its 
violence. As I was peering about in the darkness, I heard a faint 
mew not far from me near the kennel ; and on going to the spot 
1 saw a pitiful sight indeed. There was Gummidge, dear, brave 
old thing, standing almost embedded in the freezingly cold hail, 
but making no effort to move. I scraped the hail away from 
her, and then I saw what had kept her there, and prevented her 
from escaping. She had gathered together under her, and was 
standimj over, nine tiny creatures, thus doing her utmost to shield 
them from the storm, and save them from destruction. Four of 
the little things were her own, and the remainder, I think, 
Spot's ; though I am not sure whether two of the latter did not 
belong to Stumps, another of our household pets, and a daughter 
of Gummidge's. Spot and Stumps had refused to face the storm 
when it came down in its fury, and had promptly fled into the 
kitchen and saved their skin, leaving their offspring to their fate. 
Then Gummidge, perceiving that there was no time to escape 
with the kittens to the kennel, rather than allow one of the little 
things to perish unsheltered, gathered them all up together 
under her, and stood over them, receiving the whole weight and fury 
of the hail upon herself. In this way she succeeded in saving the 
lives of three. It was, of course, impossible for her to shelter 
them all ; and the other six, notwithstanding all her efforts, were 


soon beaten down by the tremendous mass of hail and buried 
under it. 

The brave old thing was in a woeful plight when I came to 
her rescue. She was, as I have said, almost embedded in hail- 
stones, shivering with cold, and her fur all wet and bedrabbled. 
Think of the hard blows that must have fallen upon her devoted 
head ! Think of their number as well as their force ! 

Hastily I extricated her and the three still living little mites 
— they were far warmer than she was, lucky morsels that they 
were — and carried them all into my hut, and wrapped them 
snugly up in a thick woollen blanket. They all recovered, though 
it took days to restore Gummidge to anything approaching to a 
respectable appearance, and weeks ere her coat assumed its 
accustomed neatness and gloss. 

And now she was dead and buried, and I should see her no 

I came away from that apple tree with a great lump in my 
throat, feeling sore at heart, and very low. 

This, thought I, is the last straw. The last, last link that 
remained between the past and the present is broken and gone. 
Yes, they are all gone — all severed and gone for ever. The 
bright young friend of the early days of the Mission ; the wife so 
gentle and so dear — dearer to me than life itself ; the sister so 
devoted to the sacred cause of duty ; the close companion of 
many years in the sacred ministry — they are all gone. One by 
one they have left me. 

They are all gone into a world of light, 
And I alone sit lingering here ; 
Their very memory is fair and bright, 
And my sad thoughts doth clear. 

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast, 
Like stars upon some gloomy grove ; 
_ Or those faint beams in which yon hill is drest 

After the sun's remove. 


Dear beauteous Death, the jewel of the just, 
Shining nowhere but in the dark, 
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust, 
Could man outlook that mark." * 

Yes, thought I, and now the only hving thing left, my faith- 
ful old friend of so many years — she has gone too. Thanks be 
to God, my child is still left to me ; but even she cannot be here. 
She is hundreds and hundreds of miles away, and who know& 
whether I shall ever see her more ? 

If I had felt depressed before, I felt doubly so now. I wished 
that I could go too. It was very wrong, I know ; but I wished 
it nevertheless. I felt ill in body and in mind ; worn out, old,, 
used up, played out, done for. Of what good was I on earth ? 
These very scandals that the Mission was at that moment 
suffering from — perhaps they might be my fault. Perhaps I had 
neglected my duty, and taken my ease, when I ought to have been 
watching over the souls committed to my care, as a good shep* 
herd should do. 

In my misery and loneliness I felt like Job. There was a> 
heap of ashes in the yard at the back of the house, and I felt 
that I should like to go and sit upon it. 

But I did not. It was not an English-like proceeding, and I 
was not Oriental or African enough to attempt it. 

I lit my pipe : a never failing solace in moments of depres- 
sion. But even that faithful friend failed me, and afforded no 

I must indeed be low ; and I was. 

But I did not go round the house and sit on the ash heap. I 
had not the moral courage to do it. I did a much weaker 
thing : I wandered slowly away to my chamber, shut myself in„ 
sat down in the corner, and fairly cried. 

Well ; I don't know that I am ashamed of it. Why should I 
not love old Gummidge ? And why should I not — if there was no 

* Henry Vaughan. 



other way out of it, and, apparently, there was not — why 
should I not drop a tear over her departure ? I am not ashamed 
to own it ; I loved the dear, faithful, old thing. 

Some people love stocks and stones ; some old china ; and 
some, extraordinary as it may seem, their money ! At least, they 
used to do so long, long ago ; for one who knew tells us so, and 
warns us not to do the same. But, perhaps, no one does that 
now ; perhaps they have grown wiser. 

Why should I not love Gummidge ? 1 repeat. I once knew 
an amiable old lady in a Colonial village who had a great affec- 
tion for a lame goose. And the affection was reciprocated ; for 
the creature used to waddle and hop, and hop and waddle after 
her all the way up the High street of the place when she went 
out shopping, and would insist in following her into every shop 
she entered. And surely a cat i3 higher in the scale of creation 
than a goose — especially a goose with a game leg ! 

Dear, brave, patient, magnanimous Gummidge ; Queen of thy 
race ; I shall never look upon thy like again ! 

But depression is not good for any man, much less for a mis- 
sionary. So T made an effort, and shook it off. And there was 
much that helped me to do so. With the approach of spring, I 
hoped that the work of building might be resumed, now that we 
had sufficient money in hand to warrant a recommencement of 
the church. So I began to look about for a competent and 
reliable builder willing to undertake the work, and found him in 
the person of an old friend, Mr. Morgan Harries, a resident of 
Ficksburg, and a member of the Church. A contract was duly 
drawn up between us and signed, the Church officers assisting 
me in the matter with their advice, and entering into the pro- 
posal with the utmost cordiality. The work was to be resumed 
in August, and the building to be finished, if all went well, by 
the Feast of Epiphany, 1890. Quarrying commenced at once, 
my old friend Nathanaele Makotoko giving us permission to 
*' break out" stone wherever we pleased round the heights.. 


Beautiful stone was abundant at a spot about a mile off, and 
large blocks of it soon began to make their appearance on the 
building ground. Six men — three whites and three Mauritius 
Creoles — were at work by the middle of August, cutting and 
shaping the stone into the required dimensions, and by the end 
of the year the walls began to rise. I had myself to be clerk of 
the works, and watch ever^^thing, the contractor not being able 
to be often on the spot ; and anyone who has undertaken such a 
task in a country like Basutoland will readily realize what it 
involves. The appliances were few, and both Mr. Harries and 
myself were at the mercy of the men, who worked when they 
pleased, and idled when they took it into their heads to do so. 
But still the work went on little by little, the nicely finished 
blocks of stone accumulated, and the walls grew gradually higher 
and higher. So, notwithstanding all difficulties and discourage- 
ments, 1 had abundant reason to be thankful, and to look 
forward hopefully to the completion of the building. 

About this time the South African newspapers contained an 
announcement to the effect that the ''Salvation Army "was 
about ** to bombard Zululand and Basutoland." We had read 
something about this new denomination from time to time, and 
had noted its advent in South Africa some years before. Up to 
the present, it did not seem to have accomplished much any- 
where in the country. Except at the seaports, and in large 
centres like Kimberley, its efforts were very few and very feeble. 
Its methods, certainly, were open to criticism ; they did not 
seem to us to be Pauline. Though the great Apostle of the 
Gentiles made himself, in the highest and best sense, ''all 
things to all men," that so he might win them to Christ, we 
can hardly imagine him marching about Antioch or Athens 
playing a big drum at the head of a procession of " Hallelujah 
Lasses," or blowing a trumpet at the corners of the streets to 
^ive notice that he was about to engage in prayer or address 
the multitude. Still, we hoped that this new candidate for 


the public favour might succeed in doing some good in a 
country hke South Africa, where any real work for God, how- 
ever grotesque in some of its methods or details, ought surely 
to be welcomed. A friend had sent me the/' South African 
War Cry " from time to time, and I observed that it never 
had anything to say about the vast heathen territories which 
surrounded the Colonies of the Cape and Natal. But now at 
length the Army was about to wipe away the reproach, which 
had been cast upon it, of not venturing out into the depths 
of heathenism, but contenting itself with processions and 
•** ham teas," and other interesting proceedings in the more 
prosperous towns and villages. The newspapers told us that 
a specially trained body of officers was about to undertake the 
evangelization of Zululand and Basutoland. They were to 
^' bombard the citadel of Satan " in each of these countries, and 
the enemy of mankind was to be defeated with great slaughter, 
and his empire destroyed. 

I wondered how and when this was to be done, and waited 
to see. Some little time afterwards another paragraph went the 
round of the papers to the effect that the training of the officers 
was completed, and that they were on the point of setting out 
for the two heathen countries to which they had been commis- 
sioned. Satan was about to fall, and to fall ignominiously ; for 
the new missionaries intended '* bombarding " him in the only 
effectual way — a way which, strange to say, had never even been 
thought of by the missionaries already working among these 
heathen tribes. This new method, we were gravely told, was to 
prove invincible, because, 

(1) The missionaries were to eat the same food as the natives, 

and live only upon native fare ; 

(2) They were to commend themselves to the heathen still 

further, by adoptin<j the national costume of the countrij. 
That was all. Not a word was said about the languages 
needing to be learnt. No doubt they were mere trifles, though 


Sesuto is a language with seven moods and tliirty-seven tenses, 
and possesses a vocabulary of more than ten thousand words. 
No ; our poor heathen were to be converted at once by two or 
three English men (or possibly women) beating a big drum, 
and adopting the food arid costume of the Basutos. That was all ; 
but the reader will see, what no doubt our friends of the *'Army" 
saw when they reflected upon it, that it was too much. Certainly 
it might be possible (some of our own clergy have had to do it at 
times) for an Englishman to exist for a few weeks, or even a few 
months, upon the ordinary native food of the country ; though I 
greatly doubt whether any European — at any rate any English- 
man — emjaged in active work, could do so permanently , But the 
^^ native costume'' ! Dear, dear people, they had evidently no 
idea how conspicuous it would be by its absence ! 

When I read this portentous paragraph, I smiled and said to 
myself, they will never come here upon such terms. And of 
course they never did. We have not been yet '' bombarded," 
and the tom-tom is still the only big drum we have yet heard in 
the country. 

Whether Basutoland has gained or lost by the non-fulfilment 
of the announcement I have quoted, the reader, who knows 
more about the *' Army " and its methods than I can possibly do,, 
must determine for himself. 

Being now so long single-handed, and with important 
building operations to superintend, it was impossible to do more 
than Iveep up the mere routine work, so to speak, of the Mission — 
the services, day and night schools, and catechumen and other 
classes. Ever since Mr. Reading had left us, the Bishop and his 
Commissary in England had been endeavouring, but hitherto 
without success, to find a man to succeed him. Several had 
offered themselves, but they were hardly the sort of men we 
needed. At last one man was found in every way eligible. I 
was told that he was really coming. But he did not come after 
all. He changed his mind at the last moment. They often do ; 


and perhaps it is as well, as it is a bad thing for a missionary 
not to be sure of his vocation. Then another offered himself, 
and was accepted. He was a really good man, but '* somewhat 
of an invalid." But he had really made up his mind to C3me. 
I reflected. An invalid, however good and earnest, was a formid- 
able creature to have in our circumstances. But I hoped the 
best, and was wondering how the experiment would succeed, 
when at the last moment his doctor stepped in, and forbad him 
to set foot upon the shores of Africa. 

Time went on, until in October a pleasant young fellow, a 
deacon from the London diocese, joined me. But he was not 
able to remain permanently in the country. He stayed until 
the Lent of 1889, when the Mission secured the services of the 
Eev. Joseph Deacon, who had done good work elsewhere in the 
diocese for some years. He came to S. Saviour's on Palm 
Sunday, and we hope that he may be spared to mission work in 
the Lesuto for many years to come. 

How is that so few really strong men — I mean physically 
strong— come out to us ? We need them, but they do not come. 
Not that I underrate the weak ones. I can call to mind at this 
moment four of the most devoted of the missionary clergy of our 
diocese ; and one of them is as poor as Job, another has a game 
leg, the third suffers from a spinal affection which compels him 
to sit down while preaching, while the fourth is so near-sighted 
that he is almost as blind as a bat. These four men, ** the poor, 
the maimed, the halt, and the blind," are all of them good men 
and true, and have all done solid, lasting work for God. 

But if such men as these, men compassed about with bodily 
infirmities, can do so much, I take it that stronger ones could 
do even more. When will they come out to us, not in twos and 
threes, but in tens and twenties ? When will the great majestic 
Church of England fully realize the splendid, the unique posi- 
tion which the Lord has given to her in this nineteenth century ? 
When will she rise to the responsibilities which are hers to-day, 


and send forth into the mission field not two or three here and 
there, but goodly numbers of her bravest sons and her best, pro- 
portionate to the needs which are daily pressing upon her ? Such 
men, strong in body as in mind, men capable of enduring hard- 
ness for Christ's sake, are more than ever needed in numberless 
places in the mission field. I believe that they will come, and 
perhaps soon, for there are not wanting signs, which cannot be 
mistaken, that the Church of our fathers is beginning to realize 
the urgency and the magnitude of the work that lies before her. 
Meanwhile, let the " poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind " 
toil on, strong in faith, if not in body ; for to them itis given to 
lay the foundations ; the superstructure will rise in God's Own 

In September, 1888, I had to dismiss the senior catechist, 
and request that his licence might be cancelled. It was a great 
grief to have to do so, but there was no alternative. Poor 
fellow, he had given himself up to evil courses, and had added 
dissimulation to his other heinous sins. *' The lust of the flesh, 
the lust of the eye, and the pride of life " had conspired together 
to slay him. He had grown proud of his position and his 
influence, for he was in his way a gifted man, and an eloquent 
preacher in his own tongue, and this pride was his destruction. 
Within a month of his dismissal from his office he lapsed into 
polygamy, taking a concubine, for whom he paid cattle in the 
usual heathen way. I found out afterwards that he had been 
bargaining to have her even while still holding his position in 
the Church. It was a sad case, and, unhappily, a not unknown 
one in the annals of mission work, though it was the first of the 
kind that had afflicted us at S. Saviour's. Let us pray that our 
poor friend may speedily '' repent, and do the first works ;" that 
so he may be restored to communion with the Church of God, 
and not after all be a castaway. 

The work of building came at length to an end. In spite of 
many drawbacks and vexations, and much waste of time, the 


contractor was true to his contract. By the Feast of the 
Epiphany, 1890, the church was almost finished. It quite 
reahzed our hopes and expectations, and has, I think, since won 
the admiration of all who have seen it. That it was an enor- 
mous gain to the Mission goes without saying. Let us hope 
that it may stand as a beacon light upon the heights of Thlotse 
for many generations to come. The structure is massive and 
solid throughout, and the work put into it thorough and good, 
from the foundation to the wall plates. 

And here I may fitly pay a parting tribute of gratitude to our 
zealous churchwarden, Mr. Richards, not only for his unwearied 
interest in the work as it progressed from day to day, but also 
for the many helps he afforded me, both by purse, and by the 
patient consideration of the many doubts and difficulties which 
must always attend a work like this. He spared neither thought 
nor effort on behalf of the house of God, and saved the Mission 
many pounds in hard cash by procuring for us, and allowing us 
to purchase, the timber and iron for roofing purposes at cost 
price. In short, he sacrificed himself in every way for the good 
of the Mission. 

The fabric when finished had cost £1,997, almost the exact 
amount of our estimate. The floor is simply of beaten earth 
in the usual African fashion, but covered with cocoa-nut 
matting, generously given for the purpose, the sanctuary being 
partially carpeted in addition. Such things as stained glass and 
encaustic tiles are, of course, things of the future — probably 
of the far future. The Altar is a memorial to Mrs. 
Widdicombe, the credence table to Mr. Lacy ; the font to 
a Httle son of Mr. Charles Vincent, a worthy layman 
of the Orange Free State, who has always been a sympathetic 
friend and helper of the Mission. A pulpit, of very simple design, 
is to be given by the contractor ; and the lectern is, as the reader 
knows, a special memorial to the Rev. R. K. Champernowne. 
The seats are at present only ordinary school forms, with the 


exception of two or three deal benches in the chancel for the 
choir, and a couple of faldstools for the clergy. Wood is very 
expensive everywhere up country, and we could not think of 
having costly oak benches or stalls, either in the nave or the 

On the application of the Bishop, the Society for Promoting 
Christian Knowledge, always ready to help, as far as possible, 
the many poor and struggling missions of the Church at home 
and abroad, generously made a grant of £200 to our building 
fund, but the grant is not available until we are in a position to 
declare that on its receipt the church will be free from debt. 
After the offerings at the Dedication Services had been added to 
our funds, it was found that there remained a debt of £600 upon 
the fabric and its furniture, which, deducting the grant from the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, left us with a net 
liability amounting to £400. For the payment of that liability we 
had, and still have, to rely upon the charity of the faithful in Eng- 
land, our local efforts having become, as no doubt my readers 
will see, entirely exhausted. As I write I find that the above 
amount is now reduced to £166, and I pray that God may 
put it into the hearts of some of His servants in the mother 
country, blessed with this world's goods, to come forward and 
help us, so that we may soon be enabled to draw the £200 
granted by the Society, and thus set our house of God entirely 
free from debt.* 

The dedication of the church took place on the 1st Sunday 
after E^Diphany, the 12th January, 1890, the Bishop having fixed 
that date for the solemn setting apart of the building to the 
worship of Almighty God. I will not weary my readers with the 
details of the ceremony, or of the feast that followed it. Suffice it 
to say, that the town was full of people the whole day ; and that, 
at the Dedication Service, seven hundred people, white and black, 

* I am thankful te be able to add that, while these sheets are passing 
through the press, this debt has been extinguished. 


Christian and heathen, were crowded into a space arranged for 
four hundred. Hundreds of natives stood outside round the 
door, and hundreds more, seeing no chance of observing or 
hearing anything that was going on, stood some distance off, 
patiently waiting (thoughtful souls !) for the bread, beef, and 
coffee which were to follow in the afternoon. 

That the singing was joyous and hearty, and the whole 
service edifying and beautiful, my readers may be assured. 
Jonathan and all his under chiefs and head men were present, 
and all took care to drop their coins into the offertory bag. 

As to the feast, one can only say that it was the talk of every 
black-skinned brother and sister, great and small, for days after- 
wards, simple as the viands were which constituted it. Our 
Christian women, and some of their heathen friends, were up the 
whole night before cooking meat, baking bread, and making 
porridge, but they did not seem the least fatigued with 
their prolonged labours. Nothing tires a native when a feast is 
binder way. 

Altogether the day was by far the greatest and most impor- 
tant in the history of Thlotse. 

Our buildings at the main station of S. Saviour's were now 
■complete, and all that now remained was to erect, in process of 
time, as our means might allow, the school-chapels still needed 
:at the various out- stations. The Bishop told me on the day of 
"dedication that he hoped to repair the little temporary church 
which had served us so long, and use it in future as the lecture 
room of a native training college, which he trusted he might 
loe able to establish at Thlotse. May this wish be speedily 
•carried into effect, and his most excellent proposal become an 
accomplished fact. 

With the opening of the church this narrative must 
come to an end. My task is finished : I have said my say, and 
have done. My readers and I have travelled together in a 
remote region, and over a considerable period of time. I have 



tried to give them some idea of what mission life is like to-day 
in one of the heathen countries of Southern Africa ; and some 
conception of its successes and failures, its hindrances and 
encouragements, its sorrows and its joys, among one of the most 
important and most intelligent of the native tribes of the Dark 
Continent. The picture I have drawn is a true one. If there 
is much of shade in it, there is also, thanks be to God, some 
light. Come what will, the cause of Christ will triumph in the 
end ; and even now, paradoxical as it may seem, the Cross often 
wins through apparent failures. 

It only remains for me to commend S. Saviour's, and its 
work for God, to the sympathies and the prayers of my readers^ 
and to wish them one and all a courteous and friendly farewell. 






Africander. A person of European descent born in South Africa. 

Assagai. A spear or javelin. From the Portuguese. 

Bantu. A generic term describing the Kafir, Basuto, and Bechuana races 

and their various sub-divisions. 
Bergi pi. Bergen, A mountain. Dutch. 

Biltong, Strips of sun-dried beef or venison. From Dutch sources. 
Boer, A farmer. Now generally used to denominate the Dutch speaking 

Africanders of the country districts of the South African Republic 

and the Orange Free State. Dutch. 
Bogobe. The bread of the Basutos ; an insipid, pasty substance made of 

millet, compressed into the shape and size of a cannon ball. Sesuto. 
Burg. Village, Sometimes a stronghold. Dutch and German. 
Commando. A military force called out for active duty. From Dutch 

Disu (sometimes Lisa). The dried and prepared dung of the cattle kraals 

used in the treeless parts of South Africa as fuel. Sesuto. 
Donga. A water course with steep, high banks. A ravine. Zulu. 
Drift, The ford of a river or spruit. From the Dutch. 
Inspan, To harness horses to a vehicle, or yoke bullocks together to a 

waggon. From the Dutch. 
Joala. The strong beer made by the Basutos. Sesuto. 
Kafir-corn. The Colonial name for Mabele. 

Kaross, A robe of furs or skins sewn together. Probably Hottentot. 
Khothla (or lekhothla). The open court or enclosure in which a chief 

gives public audiences, or administers justice. 
Koppie (or Kopje). An isolated conical or dome-shaped hill, usually 

visible from a considerable distance, and sometimes rising to a 

considerable height. Dutch. 
Kraal, A cattle fold. Also in Colonial parlance a native village. Probably 

from the Portuguese. 
Lager, A military encampment, usually formed by arranging bullock 

waggons in a circle and interlocking their wheels. Sometimes 

applied to a more permanent military camp, the walls of which are 

of stone or earth. Dutch. 


Lekhoa, pi. Makltoa. The native name for a white man. Sesuto. 

Lesiba. A musical instrument. Sesuto. 

Leting, The light beer of the Basutos. Sesuto. 

Mabele. Millet, the principal cereal of Basutoland. Sesuto. 

Mahelete. The name given by the Basutos to the rebels in the * ' Gun 

War "in 1880-81. Sesuto-Dutch. 
Mafi. The curds of fermented milk. Sesuto. 
Matihete. The name given by the Basutos to the loyal natives in the 

'' Gun War" of 1880-81. Sesuto-English. 
Mealies. The Colonial name for maize or Indian corn. 
Mest. (7/^^disu.) Dutch. 
Mokete. A feast. Sesuto. 
Monere, The title usually given by the Basutos to their missionaries. 

Otctspan. To nnharness horses, or unyoke oxen. From the Dutch. 
Pitso. A Basuto Council. Sesuto. 

Poort, A passage between two mountains. French porte. 
Riem, riempe. A prepared thong of bullock hide used as a rope. 
Rondavel. The name given by Colonists to the round huts of the Basutos. 

Perhaps a corruption of the English round hovel. 
Schans, pi. schansen. A small temporary fort or breast-work usually 

erected on a hill or mountain side. Dutch. 
Seruto. A native basket. Sesuto. 
Siboko. The crest of the Basutos, the creature held in veneration by the 

Sjambok (pronounced by English settlers shambuck). A short buffalo hide 

whip, used chiefly for cattle. 
Shot. A watercourse. Dutch. 
Spoor. A track. Dutch. 
Sprint. A tributary stream. A short river which disappears suddenly 

underground. Dutch. 
Stoep. The raised stone terrace in front of Colonial houses. Dutch. 
Thomo. A native musical instrument. Sesuto. 
Trek. To pull. Used of bullocks when drawing a waggon. Also as a 

substantive denoting a journey. Dutch. 
F^/^^ (pronounced /^/O- Open grass land. The prairie. Dutch. 
Vlei (pronounced fley). A shallow lake. Dutch. 
Volksraad. The Parliament of the Orange Free State, or the South 

African Republic. Dutch. 

I N D E X. 


Abandonment of the Orange 

River Sovereignty 38 

Africanders and Missionaries... 245 

A Friend in need 230 

Agriculture of the Basutos 47 

Alfred Motolo 199,288 

Amahlubi 20 

Amangoane 20, 26 

Andrew Makhobothloane.' 287 

Anecdotes of Moshesh 28,30 

Animals of Basutoland 3 

Architecture of first Mission 

Buildings 90 

Atrocities 225, 236 

Attack on Thlotse, First 154 

,, Second 166 

,, Third 173 

,, Fourth 221 

Audacity of Tukunya 232 

Award, Governor's 191 

Balfour, Rev. Canon 98, 100, 123, 269 

Balfour, Mr 99, 119 

Baphuti 17, 28, 129 

Barolong 17, 31, 246,251 

,, territory 246, 250 

Bantu Races 15 

Basutoland, Climate of 2, 12 

,, Fauna of 3 

, , Flora of 5 

„ Mountain fortresses of ... 10 
,, Physical characteristics of i 

,, Populationof 41 

Basutos, Common law of 45 

., Government of 41 

,, Land tenure of 43 

,, Occupations of 46 

,, Prosperity of 31 

,, Social life of 41 

Batlokoa 23 

Beautiful, The Native concep- 
tion of 115 

Bechuanas, The 17 

Beckett, Rev. Canon 70, ']'=^, 109, 253 

Beer, Native 55 

Bell Colonel 78, 128, 169, 188 

Bell, Mrs 78, 123, 128, 188 

Berea, Battle of 35 


Bishop Gray and Moshesh 68 

Bishop Knight-Brace's visits... 259, 
271, 274. 304 

Boast, A 220 

Boers, The 33, 39, 248 

Brand, President 40, 246 

Brotherhood of S. Augustine ... 71 

Burning of Molapo's house 227 

Bushmen, The 13 

Buta-bute 23 

Call to Basutoland, The 73 

Calvary Group 95 

Cannibal caves 24, 264 

Cannibals 24,27 

,, Story of 265 

'' Cape Smoke " 179, 238 

Capetown Cathedral 90 

Cathcart, Sir George, . 33 

Cetywayo's Ambassadors 126 

Chaka 27, 28 

Chamberlain, Molapo's 82 

Champernowne, Miss 127, 161, 199 

Rev. R 276. 286 

Rev. R. K., Arrival of ... 127 
,, Visit to England ... 244 

,, Return of 254 

,, Early career of 276 

,, Call to S. Saviour's 277 
,, His life and work ... 27S 
,, Last day on earth ... 279 

,, Last sermon 2S1 

,, Illness and death ... 2S2 

,, Funeral of 2S3 

,, Character of 2S4 

Chapel, Mission , 90. 19S 

Choir, Mission 114. 259 

Christmas Day, 1880 171 

Church, Permanent ... 268. 297. 303 

Circumcision Rites 50, 264 

Clark, Sir George 37 

Clarke, Sir M., Arrival of 241 

,, His Influence 243 

,, and the Liquor Traffic .. 255 

Clothing, Native ^^ 

Coast Tribes 16 

Combined Attack on Thlotse ... 221 
Compensation Question, The ... 200 



"' Cookies and Born Days" 102 

Cooking, Native 55 

Crocodile, Basuto veneration of 63 

Dances, War ...., 57 

Daniel and his son 107 

David Mogotsi 97 

Deacon, Rev. J 301 

Death of Mr. Lacy no 

,, Rev. R. K. Champernov^ne 282 

,, Mrs. Widdicombe 122 

,, Mrs. Woodman 201 

Dedication of Mission Buildings 95 

Defence of Thlotse 151 

Despondency 296 

Destruction of new Compound 193 

Disarmament Act, The 130, 133 

Dishonesty. Prevalence of 197 

Diviners, Native 63 

Donovan, Major 33 

Drink Traffic, The 255 

Drum, Native 58 

Drunkenness 181,238 

Dust Storm, A 262 

Earthquake, Superstition con- 
cerning 137 

Escape, A Remarkable 182 

,, ofPitso 158 

Famine, Results of 24 

'■ Fat Daniel " 106 

Fever 195 

Ficksburg 108 

Fight, Last 188 

„ over the Thlotse 223 

Finery, Native love of 56 

Fine levied by Governor 33 

First Convert, The 97 

First Attack on Thlotse 154 

Food. Native 55 

,, Scarcity of 178 

Frere, Sir Bartle 134 

Fugitives, Crowd of 195 

Garden, The Mission 92 

Girls, Native 51, 56 

Gipsy Life 84,88 

Gordon, General, Visit of 202 

., Conversations with 204 


Gordon, General, Bible Know- 
ledge of 204 

and frequent Communion 204 
" An instrument in God's 

Hands" 205 

His sympathy with the 

Loyals 206 

His advice to Jonathan ... 207 
His sympathy with the 

Mission 208 

His interview with Masupha 209 
His departure from Basu- 

toland 210 

calumniated 210 

Government, Action of .. 135 

Governor's award, The 191 

Gray, Bishop, and Moshesh ... 68 

Greatest Peril of Thlotse 227 

Green Mealies 55 

Griffith, Col 40, 151, 191, 192 

Griquas, The 26, 31 

Gummidge, Mrs. 289 

Hailstorm, Terrific 293 

Half Brothers, Hatred of ... 53, 216 

Hanson, Capt 176 

Harvesting, Native 48 

Hermanns Norkie 230 _j 

Heroic conduct of a cat 293 M 

Hogge, Major 33 « 

Houses of the Basutos 53 

Hurricane, Terrific 112 

Huts, Mission 89 

' ' I am not a Mealie " 104 

Inter-Tribal Warfare 214 

Joel Molapo 99, 148, 216, 227 

Jonathan Molapo 148, 208, 213, 214, 
263, 275 

Josefa Molapo 148 

Journey to Basutoland 76 

,, Modder Poort 74 

,, Thlotse Heights 84 

Jubilee Day (Queen Victoria's) 271 

Khethisa 152, 216 

Kimberley Horse, Gallant con- 
duct of 168 

Knight-Bruce, Mrs., Visit to 
Thlotse 274 



Korannas, The 26, 31 

Lacy, Mr 73, no 

Lancer's Gap. The 35 

Language of the Basutos 17, 19 

,. Bechuanas 17, 19 

,, Coast Tribes 17, 19 

Laurence, Major 168, 176 

Lekhaiong 263 

Lepoko ... 221, 225 

Leribe, District of 72 

,, First Visits to 78,79 

Lerothodi 148, 188, 189, 242 

Letsema 47 

Letsie 40, 147, 220 

Letter of Moshesh to the 

Governor 36 

Lightning, Native idea of 64 

Loathsome Diseases 1 97 

Love-songs, Native 59 

Loyals, Abandonment of 214 

Mabelete, Defeats of 223, 235, 257 

Ma-Churche, Advent of 81 

" Making his pile " 245 

Makotoko, Nathanaele 21, 67, 165, 
196, 223, 297 

Malutis, The 2,93 

Manamasoane Loyals eaten up 165 

Ma-Ntati 24 

Marriage, Basuto 52 

Masite, New Station at 256 

Masuj-ha 40, 150, 153, 219, 240, 257 

5, and Tukunya 154 

Masupha's Sons 243, 268 

Matebele i7j 29 

Meteors, Brilliant 117 

Missionaries, French Protestant 65 

,, Roman 66 

,, Anglican 68, 71 

Missions, English Church, dur- 
ing the Rebellion 142 

Modibetsana and his Money ... 105 
Mohale's Hoek, Destruction of 142 

Molapo 40, 72, 80, 136 

"Moral Force".... 237 

Moroka 31, 246 

Morosi 14, 40, 129 

Moselekatse 29 

Moshesh. Birthplace of 21 


Moshesh, Youth of 22 

,, Career of 23 

,, Irony of 28,30 

,, Letter of 36 

,, Death of 40 

Motlomi 20 

Motsuene 222, 226 

Mountain of Night, The 25 

,, Tribes, The .. . 17 

Mrs. Gummidge 289 

'^ Murdered in his Night- 
shirt " 249 

Musical capacity of Basutos ... 115 

Musical instruments. Native ... 58 

Nathanaele Makotoko 21, 67, 165, 
196, 223, 297 

Native Contingent, the 165 

,, ornaments 56, 115 

,, Training Institution 120, 127, 
201, 305 

Nausea, Attacks of 196 

New Church, Dedication of... 304 

New School-room 251 

Night School work 119 

Ntoana 84, 85, 94, 177 

Ophthalmia ,... 196 

Orange Free State, See of 70 

Orange River Sovereignty 38 

Ornaments, Native 56, 115 

Outbreak at Thaba 'Nchu 246 

Owen, Mr 33 

Pakalita 26 

Palm Sunday, 1 88 1 188 

Peace, Pleasantness of 258 

Pete 21 

Pete and Ramanella 26S 

Pictures, Love of Natives for... 117 

Pitso, The 42, 130, 239 

Pitso's Escape 15S 

Poet, A 180. 183 

Polygamy 53 

Population of Basutoland 41 

President Brand's arbitration... 246 

Queer Companions iSo 

"Queen's Church" 69 

Queen Victoria's Jubilee .. 271 



Rain Makers 63 

Rain, Persistent 178 

Ramanella 39, 162 

Reading, Rev. M. A 127, 

132, 153, 228, 267 

Rebellion, The 133 

Rebellion, The results of 194 

Red clay 56 

Relief of Thlotse 168 

Religion of the Basutos 59 

Remarkable escape 182 

Results of the First Attack 160 

Reversal of Government policy 192 
Richards, Mr. ... 103, 113, 260, 303 

Robinson, Sir Hercules 189 

Rules for guidance ^j^ 

.Salvation Army, The 298 

Samuel Lefulere... 246 

■Saunders, Commandant 175 

Sebotoane, Battles of... 175, 217, 235 

Sekubu, Mission of loi, 

142, 170, 201, 260 

Sesuto 17, 19 

Setebele 17, 19 

'• Shaver," The 21 

Siboko 63 

Siege of Thlotse 166 

Sikonyela 27, 38 

Sovereignty, Abandonment of 38 

S.l'.C.K. Grant of 304 

S.P.G.. Grant of 71 

Spirit Worship 60 

S. Saviour's 95 

Stanton, Capt 151, 157 

Stanton's Horse 151 

Stenson, Rev. E. W 72 

Superstitions, Native 62 

Taylor, Dr 109, 196, 232, 282 

Thaba Bosigo 25 

,, ,, Storming of 29 

Thaba 'Nchu 31 

Thlotse Heights 82 

,, Attacked first time 154 

,, Besieged 166 

,, Relieved 168 

,, Third time 173 

., Fourth time 221 

Thlotse Saved 233 

Tlasua 152, 216 


Tlaputle 21 

Traders, Losses of 146 

Training Institution, Native ... 120, 
127, 201, 305 

Transvaal Horse 169 

Treachery and atrocitycombined 163 

Trials and scandals 288 

Tsikoane, Bishop's first visit to 263 

,, Opening of school at 288 

Tsipinare and Samuel 246 

,, Tragic death of 248 

Tukunya 150, 232, 252 

Ultimatum of Sir G. Cathcart 34 
Unburied corpses 196 

Viervoet, Battle of 33 

Villages, Native.... . ... 54 

Visit of General Gordon 202 

Volunteers, Varieties of 186 

Vomiting, Attacks of .. 196 

War dance, A great 236 

Warden, Major 34 

Webb, Bishop, his care for 

Basutoland 71 

,, First visit of to Thlotse... 94 
,, Second visit of to Thlotse 130 

,, Mrs., visit to Thlotse 109 

Wesleyan Missionaries 31 

Western Tribes 17 

White, Bernard 173 

Widdicombe, Mrs 113, 122 

Witchcraft 62 

Witch doctors 63 

Wives of Molapo 81 

Wodehouse, Sir Philip 39 

Women, Basuto 48, 50 

,, Native, great at haggling 86 

Woodman, Mrs., Death of 201 

Woodman, Rev, T 103, 

5 \.^ 142, 170, 201, 251 

Work among lepers 268 

Workers, Need of more 301 

Worship of Ancestors 60 

Zulu Ambassadors 126 

Zulus 17 

,, Language of 18 

Zulu War, The 125